“For whatever reason, we as doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals have been selected to carry out a most holy task: to help play a role in the healing of another human being. It is a great responsibility which comes with great rewards and pitfalls. Let no one here think it is because of our skill that the patient is healed.
It is because He (Hashem) has placed in our thoughts what we should do and how to manage the patient. Every day people of all faiths, backgrounds and colors cross our path. They are rich and they are poor. They come to us in the middle of the night when we are tired and our patience is thin. They come to us on our morning rounds looking for hope from someone they hardly know. They ask only one thing of us: ‘Be kind to me, help me. Please spend an extra minute of your busy day with me. Show me that I count.’ For all of them have one thing in common: They are God’s children. I hope and pray that God will instill in our hearts these special qualities, and that we never forget for a second that He is always by our side.” — Dr. Elliot Samet, z”l.
Toby Samet described her husband’s passion in the care of patients, “as if they were members of his own family, and would thank God for each successful outcome.” He viewed his mission as being a messenger of Hashem, an extension of God’s own hand. She shared that Dr. Samet had been on the hospital staff for 15 years, in addition to his private practice in Passaic. However, she also revealed a little-known fact: that their original home-basement office was made possible by a great deal of faith in Dr. Samet’s skills and a generous grant from the hospital itself, having the vision of his potential benefit for both the hospital and the community. She said, “Everything from the paint on the walls to the fax and computers and all the office furniture came from the goodness and the farsightedness of this hospital.” She thanked the many hospital administrators and staff for their friendship and support over the years, and during their time of need during his illness with COVID.
Dr. Samet was also a founding member of Passaic’s Hatzalah, the volunteer emergency medical service, always there to help manage the simplest to the most complicated cases.
At St. Mary’s, Samet served as a primary neonatologist, often managing the care of tiny premature infants. St. Mary’s CEO, Ed Condit, credits Dr. Samet’s skills with their ability to offer such high- level and advanced care to very young infants. “Although it is a sad time, we also celebrate Dr. Samet’s life. He was a man of faith who treated everyone the same and was supportive of the hospital. His legacy lives on in the level-two nursery that was made possible because of his presence.”
George Matyjewicz, manager of Passaic’s Kehila community communication organization, introduced the dedication’s speakers. Quoted in a New York Post article from April 2020, Maryjewicz said, “Our rabbi, Rabbi Zupnik, gave a eulogy on Zoom, but he couldn’t get the words out because he was crying so hard. If we had [been able to hold] a funeral, there would have been 1,000 people there.” Rabbi Zupnik noted in his remarks last week that, “As a physician, Dr. Samet was an example of someone who brought the best part of the traditions and values of being Jewish to the fore.” The dedication was also attended by Mayor Jim Anzaldi of Clifton, Mayor Hector Lora of Passaic and Assemblyman Gary Schaer of New Jersey’s 36th District.
The plaque will be located in the pediatric department of St Mary’s Hospital in Passaic.
By Ellie Wolf