North Shore University Hospital's new $560 million addition will be home to 18 operating rooms. NewsdayTV's Macy Egeland reports. Credit: Anthony Florio

Northwell is starting "dress rehearsals" this week in a new wing at North Shore University Hospital, with the goal of acclimating staff to the $560 million addition before it starts serving cardiac and organ transplant patients next year.

Clinicians at the Manhasset campus will run drills on how to handle various scenarios in the 288,000-square-foot Petrocelli Surgical Pavilion, which is scheduled to open Feb. 10.

After nearly a decade of planning and three and a half years of construction, North Shore executives are eager to debut a pavilion they say will expand the capacity and complexity of surgical and critical care the health system can provide. Staff will be able to use pumps to sustain organs, rather than keeping them on ice ahead of transplant operations; and surgeons may perform open surgeries with guidance from advanced imaging systems in "hybrid" operating rooms, they said.

The hospital, built on donated land in 1953, has gone through prior upgrades, but wasn't designed for many of the treatments it now supports, said Jon Sendach, its executive director. The new pavilion has been thought through down to design details, he said.

The lobby at the $560 million Petrocelli Surgical Pavilion in...

The lobby at the $560 million Petrocelli Surgical Pavilion in Manhasset on Monday. Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa Loarca

"Patients need to heal in an environment that is bright and cheery, and certainly this building was designed with a tremendous amount of glass," Sendach said. "What we have learned in the last few decades is the overall experience of patients is just as important as the caliber of the clinical care."

Northwell invested in the project and used donations specifically made to enhance critical care and surgical capacity, Sendach noted. The new tower is named after Attilio and Beverly Petrocelli, of Kings Point, who made a significant gift.

The wing's 18 operating rooms include equipment that will give staff time to assess donated organs and their recipients before performing transplants, said Nabil Dagher, director of the hospital's transplant center. North Shore is the only hospital on Long Island that performs heart, liver and lung transplants, Northwell said.

"The clock starts once the organ is on ice, and it's not like you have all the time in the world," he said, whereas pumps can create blood flow in organs and sustain them outside of a body. "We can assess it over hours and hours."

A patient room in the new pavilion, which includes 132...

A patient room in the new pavilion, which includes 132 intensive care rooms. Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa Loarca

The wing's three hybrid operating rooms will allow for novel approaches to treatment, said Laurence Epstein, the hospital's system director for electrophysiology, or the study of heart rhythms. He said a heart stimulator, recording system and 3D mapping technology will allow imaging specialists and his team to assist cardiac surgeons in identifying areas that need assistance, while having the tools to do everything from minimally invasive treatments to open heart surgery.

Currently one hybrid room at the hospital is used for multiple services, Epstein said.

North Shore's 85-bed critical care units will also move and expand in the new pavilion, staff said. With a total of 132 critical care rooms, the pavilion will allow more patients to recover in a private room. 

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