Remember St. Clare's

1980s - Years of Innovation

1980s | Photos | News Clips | Headlines

The 1980s saw the introduction of new technology, new campus buildings and new programs for patients of all ages. During this decade, the region’s first Cardiac Rehabilitation Center was launched along with a new perspective on wellness and prevention, behavior modification and improved quality of life. Soon to follow would be the Wellness Center, PrimeTime for Seniors, a ChildCare Center and the establishment of the St. Clare’s Hospital Foundation.

The hospital made national news when two of its surgeons, Dr. Steven Goodman and Dr. Patricia Fox performed 15 hours of marathon surgery to reattach three severed fingers. Dr. Fox again introduced cutting-edge surgery to the Capital Region with the first transverse abdominal island flap - the use of a patient’s own living tissue for breast reconstruction following a mastectomy.

The insulin pump, a breakthrough device for people with diabetes made its Schenectady debut at St. Clare’s under the direction of Dr. Gerardus Jameson, as did upstate New York’s first gastroplasty, performed in 1981 by Dr. Oscar Lirio. Also in 1981, a new Schenectady tradition, the Cardiac Classic, was introduced on Thanksgiving morning under the guidance of St. Clare’s Critical Care and Cardiac Rehabilitation Director Dr. William Vacca, his brother Joe and uncle Ray.

The ‘80s also marked the beginning of national nursing shortages, increased marketing and advertising by hospitals and growing use of computers in both administrative and clinical functions.

St. Clare’s drew national attention when Dr. Eugene Drago, St. Clare’s Chief of Cardiology and the hospital’s new computerized EKG system provided essential medical services at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid and again, at the Sarajevo games, in 1984.

1980s | Photos | News Clips | Headlines