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Dr. Steven Greenberg, pacemaker pioneer, dies

Dr. Steven Greenberg, of St Francis Hospital, died

Dr. Steven Greenberg, of St Francis Hospital, died at 56. Credit: handout

Dr. Steven Greenberg of Old Westbury, a well-known cardiologist at St. Francis Hospital and pioneer in the development and use of pacemakers, died Dec. 12. He was 56.

Greenberg received his medical degree from Albany Medical College in 1983 and joined the staff at St. Francis in 1990. He soon made his mark in the Arrhythmia and Pacemaker Center, where he was coordinator.

In 2009, he was the first doctor in the country to implant a wireless pacemaker that allows doctors to check how well the devices are functioning without requiring patients to come to the office.

He was also part of early research on the use of pacemakers and implantable defibrillators, used to detect and correct heart arrhythmias, and he published in numerous journals, including The New England Journal of Medicine.

Patients revered his expertise and kindness, his wife, Elizabeth Greenberg, said.

"Patients would chase him around Waldbaum's and thank him for saving their lives," she said.

His oldest child, Aaron Greenberg of Old Westbury, recalled weekly breakfasts at a diner with his father. "He'd always go to pay the bill and someone else had paid it every single time," he said. "Sometimes we wouldn't know who it was."

Dr. Joseph Levine, director of the Arrhythmia and Pacemaker Center, said Greenberg combined innovation and compassion.

"His input literally helped shape this field in medicine," he said. "And, above all, it was his compassion for the sick that truly stands out. Dr. Greenberg was more than just a physician and researcher; he became an advocate for every patient he interacted with."

Born in New Hyde Park and raised in Whitestone, Queens, he was an avid cook and expert kayaker, who each year circumnavigated Manhattan island. He was a fellow in the Heart Rhythm Society, a physician affiliate of the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York and a volunteer for the Nassau County Medical Society. He was an active physician in the Gift of Life program. Since 2008, he also served as a trustee of the Village of Old Westbury.

In addition to his wife and son Aaron, he is survived by another son, Adam of San Diego; his daughter, Lauren of Old Westbury; and his sister, Rochelle DeMuccio of East Northport.

Services were held Dec. 14 at Gutterman's Funeral Home in Woodbury, with burial at Locust Valley Cemetery.

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