About Englewood Hospital and Medical Center


2010 Press Releases



Contact: Kathleen Mathieu,
201-694-0384 or 201-939-1844

Starlight Children’s Foundation NY*NJ*CT Brightens Lives of Young Patients

Caption: Elizabeth, with Polka-Dot, on the Wii.

Elizabeth Arturi of Old Tappan just can’t stop hugging her newest best buddy, Polka-Dot. She even prefers the fuzzy, snuggly teddy bear to the giant bear she was thrilled to receive from Santa at Christmas.

Polka-Dot came by way of the generosity of the Starlight Children’s Foundation of NY*NJ*CT in January, when the third-grader was hospitalized for pneumonia at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center. Thanks to the good care of her pediatrician, Harry Banschick, MD, the staff at Englewood Hospital, and mom and dad, Linda Arturi and Frank Arturi, MD, Elizabeth was back to good health and school in less than a week.

“It could have been an awful experience for all of us, but it was far from that. Elizabeth, a cautious, thoughtful child, hadn’t even visited a hospital before, never mind been a patient in one, but she did great,” said her mother, who stayed with her daughter for the entire time. “I really think it was the bear from Starlight that made the difference.” Elizabeth also enjoyed other welcomed diversions provided by the foundation, especially arts and crafts, watching DVDs, and Wii games. The Starlight Fun Center, a mobile entertainment unit featuring the Nintendo Wii that helped her pass the time, is one of the newest additions to the pediatric unit donated by Starlight.

For almost 20 years, Starlight and Englewood Hospital have partnered to make the lives of hospitalized children and their families brighter. The foundation has provided a host of materials, equipment and assistance, including the interactive Starlight Fun Center, art supplies, PC Pals computer equipment, DVD players, toys and entertainment for holiday parties. Additionally, Starlight has provided funding for one of the Medical Center’s child life specialists, who strive to limit the potential negative effects of a hospitalization on infants, children, adolescents and families.

Michelle Brauntuch, MS, CCLS, who manages the hospital’s Child Life Program, emphasizes the importance of these services in the lives of hospitalized children. "We see first-hand how children's coping mechanisms are bolstered by normalizing the hospital environment and providing familiar recreational activities such as video games and movies. The myriad array of tools and services that Starlight provides enables us to educate children about their medical condition and support children and families in developmentally appropriate ways. We are able to assess each child's unique needs and abilities, and help them develop and use coping skills to deal with the hospital experience. Starlight helps ensure that even youngsters who are ill, injured or having surgery have a chance to play and feel secure at what can be a very difficult time in their young lives." The child life program at Englewood Hospital also supports children who are dealing with a family medical crisis or death.

Starlight’s mission to restore some of the happiness that an illness can take away from a child fits hand-in-hand with Englewood’s vision of compassionate care in a humanistic environment. “Starlight Children’s Foundation is an essential long-term partner of Englewood Hospital. We are always grateful to have Starlight by our side and honored to share a goal of helping children be the most well they can be,” says Douglas A. Duchak, president and CEO, Englewood Hospital and Medical Center.

Starlight is proud of the integral role they play at the Medical Center and works hard to achieve such seamless integration with hospitals. “The relationship we have with Englewood is rewarding for everyone involved,” says Elaine Siver, executive director of Starlight.  “Starlight is a deeply committed organization, starting with our board of directors. To be part of the ongoing services and growth of something as vital as a child life program fulfills our mission in a very large way.”

About Englewood Hospital and Medical Center
Englewood Hospital and Medical Center provides patients with the highest level of compassionate care through a broad range of state-of-the-art clinical programs and the most advanced treatments and diagnostic services. It is renowned for its bloodless medicine and surgery program, cardiac and vascular programs and its leadership in breast care, oncology and joint replacement services. Through its affiliation with the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the Mount Sinai Consortium for Graduate Medical Education, this thriving, acute-care and community teaching hospital trains medical residents in a variety of disciplines, including surgery, pediatrics, podiatry, pathology and critical care medicine.  Englewood Hospital is home to a Vascular Fellowship Program that has trained a generation of world-class vascular surgeons.  Additionally, many members of the medical staff at Englewood Hospital serve as faculty members at Mount Sinai. Englewood Hospital has earned numerous accreditations from the Joint Commission and other organizations and is among the four percent of hospitals nationwide honored with the prestigious Magnet nursing award, a distinction that has been earned twice by its nursing staff.