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Thursday, June 30, 2022
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(Courtesy of SMGH) On Tuesday, June 21, family, friends and colleagues joined in a tribute to Dr. Elliott Samet, zt”l, in a memorial service at St. Mary’s General Hospital, where he was a board-certified primary neonatologist, charged with caring for the tiniest infants. Dr. Daniel Conroy, the hospital’s VP of Medical Affairs, once spoke of him as a committed doctor who would come to the hospital in the middle of the night should a newborn need evaluating, and always with a positive and enthusiastic attitude.

He was also the pediatrician for the Passaic-Clifton community, loved and honored by all.

“Sadly, he was taken from us too early,” said George Matyjewicz, PhD, community liaison for the Orthodox Jewish community and a dear friend of the Samets. “He was an early victim of the COVID pandemic, and we didn’t have a chance to mourn him properly. This event gave family the opportunity to hear how he impacted so many of us and how he is missed by all.

“Dr. Samet was a mensch and a tzaddik—loved by all wherever he was,” Matyjewicz continued. “This past week I heard from three out-of-state doctors who spoke very highly of Dr. Samet and how he helped communities in Detroit and Baltimore. He was that type of a person—help whomever he can whenever he can.

“His sister told me that when he was younger, he questioned whether he should go to medical school in France. She told him to go, ‘because in 20 years you will regret not going.’ Well,l he listened and then he went to Maimonides Medical Center, Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine and Pediatrics. And we all thank her for that sage advice.

“Today in honoring this man, I knew that as soon as we announced this event that we could have the entire Passaic-Clifton community (approximately 2,600 families) come out. So we had to try to limit attendance to family, close friends and colleagues. His children and grandchildren came in for this special event.

“We thank Clifton Mayor Jim Anzaldi, Passaic Mayor Hector Lora and Assemblyman Gary Schaer, who took time out of their busy schedules to join our St. Mary’s General Executive team—CEO Ed Condit, CNO Karin Stalter and the colleagues who all worked with Dr. Samet us at this dedication.”

Rabbi Menachem Zupnik, who was Dr. Samet’s rabbi and is also the rav of Bais Torah U’Tefilah (BTU) in Passaic, gave a short talk, emphasizing the physician’s chesed and how we should all emulate his acts of kindness to his fellow—no matter what religion or nationality. He was always helping those in need, usually anonymously. Dr. Samet also loved studying Torah and he would be found learning in BTU regularly.

Next, Dr. Samet’s widow, Tobi, spoke and read a letter that Dr. Samet had written years ago at an invocation at St. Mary’s Hospital:

For whatever reason, we as doctors, nurses and health care 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 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 only ask 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 all God’s children.

So as we leave this gathering today, 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.

It was heartwarming and appreciated by all, and was typical of how he lived his daily life—always looking out for others.

CEO Ed Condit unveiled the special plaque made in his honor, and read it to Mrs. Samet and the audience.

The plaque will hang in the fully renovated Maternal-Child Health Center, which features a Level II nursery specializing in the delivery and care of high-risk infants born as early as 32 weeks, a place where Dr. Samet was often seen.

Dr. Samet applied his talents as part of the team that enabled St. Mary’s General to become the recipient of the Healthgrades™ Five-Star Award four years in a row (2016–2019) for both Vaginal Delivery and C-Section Delivery. In addition, St. Mary’s General was awarded Gynecologic Surgery Excellence Award (2018, 2019), making St. Mary’s General one of only six hospitals to receive this distinction in New Jersey.

And so it goes with colleagues, friends and patients, all of us who knew and loved Dr. Elliott Samet.

Sadly, we all wish that we didn’t have to honor him in this manner and that he was still with us. But, obviously, Hashem had other ideas—he was needed up there.

St. Mary’s General Hospital—nationally recognized, locally preferred—among the top hospitals in America for health, quality, and patient safety. A center of excellence for maternal-child, the hospital has over 550 physicians and 1,200 employees, with every staff member committed to providing respectful, personalized, high-quality care—to satisfy patients’ needs and exceed their expectations. St. Mary’s General is a proud member of Prime Healthcare, which has more Patient Safety Excellence Award recipients for five consecutive years (2016-2020) than any other health system in the country, including a “Top 15 Healthcare System” by Truven Health Analytics. To learn more about St. Mary’s General Hospital visit https://www.smh-nj.com/ or visit Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/StMarysGeneral.

For more information, please contact George Matyjewicz, PhD, community liaison at [email protected]

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