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Jul 6, 2011 11:37 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Lucia's Room At Southampton Hospital Expected To Open This Fall

Jul 6, 2011 12:10 PM

Is a hospital room by any other name still a hospital room?

What if that room were chock full of special touches—a private entrance so no hallway passersby could peek in; the tangle of medical equipment out of sight; a serene beach scene lightbox adorning the exam light above the bed; a comfortable recliner for visiting guests and a computer workstation with internet connections and a printer to help them keep up with work while an ill loved one catches some Zs—all outfitted in a soft palette of earthy tones with plush towels and bedding designed to soothe the soul?

The supporters of Lucia’s Room at Southampton Hospital hope it is much more.

Expected to open to its first patient in late September, Lucia’s Room is intended to provide a more hospitable experience for patients going through difficult surgeries, palliative care and end-of-life services, as well as those undergoing mastectomies and reconstructive breast surgery.

In their sun-filled office on Oak Street last Friday, Stacy Quarty, president of Lucia’s Angels—a local foundation that seeks to help East End women and families who are affected by late-stage women’s cancers, including breast, ovarian, cervical and uterine—and Susan Barry Roden, vice president of Lucia’s Angels, spoke of the room’s inspiration.

After logging plenty of hospital hours in uncomfortable chairs and a sterile environment with two women, Andi Gulija and Sukran Bayraktar, who died of breast cancer last December, Ms. Quarty and Ms. Roden said they looked at each other and realized they wanted to improve the experience for patients and families alike on the East End. The name Lucia is in memory of another woman, Lucia Terzi Bagan, who died of breast cancer in 2006.
Through an agreement with the Southampton Hospital Foundation, the foundation is fronting $150,000 so the room can be built right away, though Lucia’s Angels must pay back that amount in five years, they said, and the project is costing more than anticipated, they acknowledged.

On Thursday evening, there will be a fashion show and cocktail party, “Haute Night in the Hamptons,” at which pink cosmopolitans will be served to benefit the project, at Strong’s Marine on County Road 39 in Southampton. Another local foundation, Nana Cares, The Kattie O. Berkoski Foundation, has also selected Lucia’s Room as its charity to support this year.

Ms. Quarty and Ms. Roden, both Water Mill residents, who call themselves Frick and Frack, finish each other’s sentences and brim with enthusiasm about Lucia’s Room and its long list of supporters, many of whom are donating materials and labor, they said.

“It’s just a beautiful room. We want people to use it, for families to appreciate it,” said Ms. Roden, who is also a patient navigator for community outreach at the hospital. “It’s not worth it to build something beautiful and have it just sit there. I did that once with a bottle of wine and then it went bad,” she chuckled.

“When we get an idea, we just go crazy,” Ms. Quarty said. “Full speed ahead,” added Ms. Roden.

Coming from the patient’s perspective, Ms. Roden said her favorite feature of the room is the beach lightbox—to imagine one is someplace else. Ms. Quarty, meanwhile, looks at it from more of the visitor’s perspective, and named the recliner as one of her favorite features, citing the pain of a cricked neck after sitting around in regular hospital environs.

“Ultimately, it would be wonderful if we had a cure for breast cancer, so we wouldn’t need to make rooms like this,” explained Ms. Roden, a breast cancer survivor. “But I think, unfortunately, we’re not at that point.” She added, with a smile: “But just for the record, I have no intention of using this room.”

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