Fast Chat: Meet ELIH’s new surgeon, Dr. John Cosgrove

ELIH COURTESY PHOTO | Dr. John Cosgrove of Shelter Island is the new general surgeon at Eastern Long Island Hospital.

Eastern Long Island Hospital has welcomed a new general surgeon to its staff with the hiring of Dr. John Cosgrove.

Dr. Cosgrove, 56, has over 30 years of experience and most recently served as chairman of surgery and residency program at Albert Einstein College of Medicine at the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center, ELIH officials said.

Married with three children, he has been visiting the North Fork for the past decade, staying at a vacation home on Shelter Island. He now lives on the island full-time.

The Greenport hospital has expanded its surgery department over the past five years and now does more than 5,000 procedures annually, said Eileen Solomon, assistant director of community relations. With the addition of Dr. Cosgrove, she said, they hope to continue expanding.

Q: Do you have any pre-surgery rituals?

A: I don’t like a lot of music in the operating room, but I’ll play a little rock and roll, like [the band] Rush. I think my ritual is just thinking about the cases and talking to the surgical team and not taking anything for granted. I like to hear everybody and everybody’s input. You really have to be very careful; even if you can do the surgery well you have to make sure the patient’s cardiac history can undergo the surgery.

Q: What drew you to Eastern Long Island Hospital?

A: I spent all of my career in the surgery department and I’ve educated surgical residents for 25 years. I did surgery, but I was spending a lot of time with administrative responsibilities and I missed being involved in day-to-day patient care.

Mr. Connor was recruiting a full-time general surgeon. They were calling me to see if I knew of anyone. I said I’d take a look at it. I think as soon as I met Mr. Connor I was very impressed with the care here, his leadership and vision for the future.

Q: You perform a variety of surgical procedures, including laparoscopic surgeries, hernia repairs, colon resections and gastric procedures. Do you consider any of these your specialty?

A: I don’t really consider myself a specialist but what I think I bring to the field is a broad background in general surgery — and you see some difficult cases when you’ve been practicing as long as I have. I think if there’s one field in particular, gastrointestinal surgery is my area of special interest. We want to be able to expand our laparoscopic surgeries as well, and I intend to do that.

Q: How is Eastern Long Island Hospital different from other hospitals you’ve worked at in your career?

A: I’ve never been to a place that’s so supportive and welcoming. Everybody here has really gone over the top to make me feel a part of the team and the family. I don’t use the term “family” loosely, either. It’s highly organized and the emphasis is on patient care. It’s really a very special place. I can’t see myself going anywhere else.

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