After the collapse of the World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001, the hospital was prepared to treat mass casualties, but few would show up; instead the staff and community mourned the deaths of 300 of their neighbors. Ferreri also has made sure that Staten Island victims will never be forgotten, spearheading development of a 9/11 Memorial Wall, which serves as the site of an annual remembrance event.
When a Staten Island ferry crashed on Oct. 15, 2003, the hospital received critically injured people every two minutes, Ferreri said. Just before Hurricane Irene struck in 2011, Ferreri helped organize the evacuation of 600 patients from two of the hospital's three campuses (one was on high ground). And as the surge from Superstorm Sandy struck in 2012, the hospitals were not evacuated but instead opened their doors to residents who lost their homes.
“Some people swam to us,” Ferreri said. “We had employees who lost everything, and they came to work because they knew they belonged here.”
Staten Islanders also benefited from Ferreri's involvement in leading completion in 2010 of the Regina M. McGinn, MD Medical Education Center on the hospital's campus, where doctors, students and the community can gather to host or attend health education forums. The center also provides space for support groups.
Ferreri also uses his personal stories to spotlight health issues, such as in 2013, when during the hospital's annual fundraising gala, he announced he had breast cancer and was launching a regional awareness campaign about the risk in men. “I asked (a doctor) about going public, and she said as head of a hospital, it was an obligation to do it because the mortality rate for men is higher than for women because it's not detected as early,” Ferreri said.
Mike Mitka is a freelance writer based in River Forest, Ill. Reach him at [email protected]