May 26, 2022 by Adrienne Sylver
Oncology, Surgery and Endoscopy Services Now Available at Fishermen’s Community Hospital
Cancer patients in the Florida Keys who need chemotherapy or other treatments can now access a range of oncology services from one of Florida’s leading cancer centers without having to travel far from home, according to Jean Santaguida, APRN, a nurse practitioner with Miami Cancer Institute at Fishermen’s Community Hospital, part of Baptist Health South Florida.
(Watch now: Cancer patients in the Florida Keys can now access chemotherapy and other treatments with the opening of Miami Cancer Institute at Fishermen’s Community Hospital. Video by Dylan Kyle.)
“We’re thrilled to be able to offer exceptional and convenient cancer care to the residents of the Middle and Lower Keys,” Ms. Santaguida says, noting that Miami Cancer Institute has been recognized as one of the best healthcare facilities in the nation for cancer care based on U.S. News & World Report rankings. The high performing oncology program puts Miami Cancer Institute in the top 10% of leading cancer centers in the nation.
According to Ms. Santaguida, Fishermen’s Community Hospital now has an outpatient oncology suite with three private rooms where patients can receive chemotherapy, Immunotherapies, targeted therapies, transfusions and hydration services.
Patients also have access to the extensive clinical resources and unique support services offered at Miami Cancer Institute’s main campus in Miami. “If needed, we can provide expedited referrals to our providers there, either in-person or virtually through a telehealth platform such as Baptist Health Care On Demand,” she says.
An anchor of health and wellness in the Keys
Founded by caring residents in the area and built in 1962, Fishermen’s Community Hospital was severely damaged by Hurricane Irma in 2017. Baptist Health South Florida, which had just completed its purchase of the hospital weeks before Irma struck, emphasized its commitment to the Florida Keys by constructing an all-new, state-of-the-art hospital designed to meet the growing needs of the community.
Baptist Health built the 37,330-square-foot facility to surpass building code requirements, with the ability to withstand wind speeds of a Category 5 hurricane. In addition, the hospital’s ground floor slab was built to exceed the required flood zone elevation by three feet, and flood panels protect all ground-level windows and doors.
The new Fishermen’s Community Hospital, which opened last July, features inpatient and intensive care units; observation rooms; outpatient laboratory; diagnostic imaging such as ultrasound, mammography and CT scans; physical rehabilitation; and 24/7 emergency care as well as telestroke services to give stroke patients immediate access to board-certified neurologists. An on-site helipad helps speed the delivery of life-saving care for patients in critical condition.
Local man among first to receive chemotherapy at Fishermen’s
One of the first chemotherapy patients to be treated at Miami Cancer Institute at Fishermen’s Community Hospital was Roy Ulrich of Cudjoe Key. Mr. Ulrich was undergoing treatment for colon cancer that had spread to his lungs and other areas.
“Given the option to receive chemotherapy at Fishermen’s or elsewhere, I chose Fishermen’s because of the quality care I knew I’d receive here,” Mr. Ulrich says. “The option of going to a Baptist Health facility was a deciding factor when I moved to the Keys from New York.” He continues to receive chemotherapy every two weeks at Fishermen’s Community Hospital.
Surgery and endoscopy services also available
In addition to oncology, Fishermen’s Community Hospital has also added surgery and endoscopy to its services lines, according to Drew Grossman, chief executive officer of Fishermen’s Community Hospital and Mariners Hospital, also part of Baptist Health.
The newly opened operating room at Fishermen’s Community Hospital is now home to a number of surgical procedures including orthopedic, podiatric and urological surgeries, Mr. Grossman says, and area residents can now come to Fishermen’s for endoscopy services such as colonoscopies and upper gastrointestinal endoscopies.
“Caring for the community is at the heart of our mission,” says Mr. Grossman, who notes that the hospital receives funding from the Middle Keys Health Care Municipal Service Taxing Unit exclusively for providing care to uninsured and underinsured patients. “Now, with an all-new hospital and expanded service lines including cancer, surgery and endoscopy, we’re poised to meet the healthcare needs of the Middle and Lower Keys for generations to come.”