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South Nassau Names Director of Physical Medicine, Rehabilitation

South Nassau Communities Hospital has named Ricardo (Eric) Cruz, MD, Director of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation department. Dr. Cruz, board-certified in general physical medicine and rehabilitation, succeeds Ernesto Capulong, MD, who has retired.

“We understand that patients recovering from musculoskeletal or neurologic injuries and diseases need high-quality in-patient and/or out-patient physical medicine and rehabilitation services to achieve the best possible recoveries,” said Sheila D’Nodal, MD, South Nassau’s vice president of ambulatory services. “Dr. Cruz’s expertise and experience will ensure that South Nassau meets that need and remains in the vanguard of offering the latest advancements and proven therapies in rehabilitative and physical medicine available to our patients.”

Dr. Cruz oversees the daily operations of South Nassau’s inpatient rehabilitation department and its’ Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Therapy (SMART) Center (located at 440 Merrick Road, Oceanside, NY). He specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation, which includes treating patients with sports injuries, neuromusculoskeletal disorders (including low back pain, degenerative joint disease, carpal tunnel syndrome, amputation patients) and performs EMG and nerve conduction tests. Dr. Cruz also has special interest in neurologic rehabilitation particularly stroke and traumatic brain injury.

Prior to coming to South Nassau, Dr. Cruz served as director of the Stroke Program at Nassau University Medical Center. Dr. Cruz completed residency training in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Nassau University Medical Center (where he also served as chief resident during his senior year) and completed fellowship training in neuro-rehabilitation (Stroke, Traumatic Brain Injury and Spinal Cord Injury) at Weill Cornell Medical College. An assistant professor at SUNY Stony Brook and New York Osteopathic College of Medicine, Dr. Cruz has authored numerous publications, including the Oxford Handbook of Rehabilitation – Stroke and TBI Rehabilitation (published in 2010) and Neurologic Rehabilitation of the Elderly (published in 2011).

The SMART Center provides rehabilitation programs that combine Dr. Cruz’s keen understanding of the body’s mechanics with a staff of experienced physical, occupational and speech therapists. Patient-specific rehabilitative or therapeutic programs promote short- and long-term health and wellness. Dr. Cruz and the staff work closely with the patient’s primary care physician to develop a personalized rehabilitation program and provide regular updates on their progress. The result of this team approach is therapy that is based upon individual conditions that help the patients achieve highest functional level.

South Nassau’s inpatient physical therapy and rehabilitation department provides patient-specific rehabilitative or therapeutic care that ensures that patients are physically able and prepared to be discharged from the hospital to continue rehabilitation and recovery in the home or under the guidance of an outpatient or inpatient facility specializing in physical, occupational and speech therapies. The department has a wide range of rehabilitative and therapeutic equipment and technologies, including electrical stimulation and ultrasound; partial body weight supported gait training and vestibular rehab equipment; strength and conditioning machines for specific joints or muscles; and electro-diagnostic testing to determine the extent of the patient's nerve or muscle damage. It also provides rehabilitative therapy for breast cancer patients, including hand and lymphedema therapy, and comprehensive educational services for patients recovering from general, orthopedic or neuro-surgical procedures. The department also conducts evaluations and assessments for traits such as gait and balance to determine the need for assistive and supportive devices such as wheelchairs and aids for daily living equipment and speech devices.

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