Luca Michael Picarella, born at 8:09 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 17 to Katie and Mike Picarella of Rocky Point, New York, became the 100,000th child to be delivered at Stony Brook University Hospital.
Stony Brook Medicine took to Facebook and Twitter with announcements of the “#COUNTDOWN” beginning July 15, when there were fewer than 400 deliveries left. Luca’s birth was finally announced with an exciting Facebook post early Tuesday morning: “100,000TH DELIVERY COUNTDOWN UPDATE: WE DID IT!!!”
“Everybody created expectation, everybody knew it was going to happen but didn’t know when, and it created a lot of excitement internally here,” said Dr. L. Reuven Pasternak, CEO of Stony Brook University Hospital, in an interview. “It’s an honor for us to celebrate 100,000 children born here — that’s the size of a city.”
Stony Brook Medicine, along with numerous other groups and organizations from the community, put together a gift basket in honor of the 100,000th delivery, including a $10,000 scholarship from Island Federal Credit Union, a $2,500 scholarship toward tuition at the North Shore Montessori School and a $500 shopping spree compliments of the Stony Brook University Hospital Auxiliary.
The hospital held a discharge celebration event for the Picarellas on Thursday morning where they received the gifts along with a card signed by Stony Brook University staff, faculty and students who either were born at or gave birth at the hospital.
Dr. Todd Griffin, chair of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Medicine and Dr. Julie Welischar, the attending OB/GYN who delivered Luca, both spoke at the celebration, congratulating the family. Following a photo session with them and the other doctors and nurses who were a part of the delivery, the family had a grand red-carpet exit as they prepared to go home.
The first delivery at Stony Brook was in May 1980 at the high-risk obstetrics unit shortly after the hospital’s founding. And 99,999 deliveries later, Jeffrey Solomon, born on May 28, 1980 to Debra and Robert Solomon, drove up from his current home state of Florida with his father and stepmother to speak at the celebration and congratulate the hospital on its growth.
Since Solomon was last here, Stony Brook University Hospital has received the highest New York State designations as a Level 4 Regional Perinatal Center and Level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The hospital has also expanded in size to accommodate 630 beds, with a new labor and delivery suite that opened in 2011 that now has an average of 11 births per day and nearly 4,000 deliveries each year.
“We keep a lot of milestones going, not only the number of deliveries but also at our Cancer Center and the Heart Center,” Pasternak said. “We just recently had our 50th TAVR — Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement — procedure, which was exciting. We’re counting down now to cutting the ribbon for the Children’s Hospital in early 2017, and we’re hoping to see the 200,000th delivery in 25 years.”
Luca’s older sister Gianna, born at the hospital as well but five years earlier, was also present at the celebration. Katie said that her husband first found out about the news when he returned after going to check on Gianna after the delivery.
“When I came back in, and the doctors stopped me in the hallway, I thought something was wrong. My knees were a little shaky,” Mike said during the celebration. “She said ‘Congratulations, your baby is the 100,000th child,’ and I was like ‘You’re kidding me.’ It was a shock and a whirlwind of emotions, but it’s been fantastic.”