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May 15, 2015 3:27 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Southampton Hospital Donor Audrey Gruss Hopes Heart And Stroke Center Will Save Lives

Audrey Gruss is presented with a certificate from U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin. ALYSSA MELILLO
May 19, 2015 4:58 PM

For Audrey Gruss, the Hamptons is a place that has, for many years, brought joy to her and her husband, Martin, particularly because it has some of the best landscapes and food around.Ms. Gruss wanted to see it have the best health care, too. With heart disease and stroke two of the leading causes of death in adults, particularly over the age of 50, Ms. Gruss said that she and Mr. Gruss wanted to somehow help improve access to timely, top-notch care for those suffering from a heart attack, stroke or other endovascular problems.

“You have your wonderful Hamptons residents, and you also have, at the same time, these extraordinarily successful … weekend warriors,” Ms. Gruss said in a phone interview last week. “As we were thinking about this, we were figuring, ‘Why don’t we have the best?’”

In August 2012, the Grusses announced that they would donate $5 million to Southampton Hospital for a heart and stroke center, which cost $10 million to build and equip. And now that the facility—which includes a state-of-the-art hybrid operating room—finally opened last month, Ms. Gruss said she can sleep more soundly at night knowing that her and her husband’s contribution will save lives. “It is so gratifying,” she said.

A philanthropist who divides her time among Southampton, Manhattan and Palm Springs, Florida, Ms. Gruss explained that many who live a similar lifestyle often think they can simply take a helicopter back to New York City if they begin to experience medical problems. Instead, the Audrey and Martin Gruss Heart and Stroke Center provides access to the most advanced technology in the medical field to help treat, and even prevent, endovascular disease, so that those individuals, as well as the year-round residents here, do not have to travel so far for care.

“They’re kind of cavalier about how they think about their health. They think they’re immortal,” she said of some Manhattanites who frequent the Hamptons on weekends. “They may have an unrealistic sense of immortality.”

At an opening ceremony for the Audrey and Martin Gruss Heart and Stroke Center on Friday, May 15—a timely event, as May is American Stroke Month—many commended the couple for their gift and for equipping Southampton Hospital with the most innovative technology in the tri-state area. Dr. Fred Weinbaum, the hospital’s chief medical officer, said the center will allow the institution to perform “the most modern treatments” in the industry. “This is a tremendous combination of technology and medicine working together,” he said.

State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle, who is a big supporter of Southampton Hospital, said it is only helping the institution grow. “This is a donation that will save lives, help people, and expand the quality of health care on the East End,” he said.

But for Ms. Gruss, the donation goes beyond improving the quality of health care—it is about giving back to a community she and her husband love.

“The Hamptons have brought so much joy to all our lives. We’re so grateful to this community,” she said. “Our hope is that we live longer and stronger, make the most of the time we have here, and leave a better, safer, healthier place.”

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This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By BrockAllen, on May 15, 15 8:44 PM
Such a generous gift and so well thought out. I am in awe of Audrey and
Martin Gruss for their thoughtful and truly philanthropic gift to the community.
Thank you.
By localcitizen (100), Southampton on May 16, 15 5:03 AM
1 member liked this comment
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