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Daniel M. Lugassy, MD

Daniel M. Lugassy, MD

Emergency Medicine Attending Physician and Director of Simulation
NYC Health + Hospitals/Simulation Center

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Compassion is Healing

As a veteran NYC Health + Hospitals emergency physician – 13 years at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue, the past year at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst — Dr. Daniel Lugassy has been on the frontlines of the city’s two major health crises. In 2012, when Hurricane Sandy knocked out power at Bellevue, he and his colleagues wore head-mounted flashlights to treat and evacuate patients in the dark. Eight years later, when the pandemic hit New York like a tornado, “every inch of the Bellevue ED was lined with intubated patients and equipment,” he says. “The entire staff, without hesitation, leaped head-first into action for the patients.”

Both events, he says, illustrate the spirit of NYC Health + Hospitals staff. “It was in these moments that I felt deep gratitude for the support I received from colleagues to find a way to persevere in what could feel insurmountable.” The same ethic prevails in the routine of daily life in the public health system. “There is a special bond,” Dr. Lugassy says, “because we are all striving to uphold the mission to provide equal access to care.” 

At Elmhurst, Dr. Lugassy splits his time between the Emergency Department and his position as Medical Director of the hospital’s simulation training program, a role that has made him a leader in restructuring simulation throughout the system. “Daniel is a true team player, always looking for a way to help move an initiative forward,” says Dr. Michael Meguerdichian, Clinical Co-director of the NYC Health + Hospitals Simulation Center. “He is constantly educating, looking for those teaching moments at the bedside, and eagerly shares his passion for equitable access to health care for everyone.”

The son of immigrants from Morocco, Dr. Lugassy grew up in Queens and always wanted to be a doctor. “I was fascinated by the inner workings of the human body,” he says. “In fact, when I was 11 years old I self-diagnosed my own hernia by doing book research at the public library.”

After his graduation from Downstate Medical School in 2005, Dr Lugassy became specialized in emergency medicine as well as medical toxicology and health care simulation.

“As clinical providers, we care for thousands of patients a year and we can often lose sight of the individual,” he says. “A kind approach, an attentive ear and welcoming demeanor can mean the difference between life and death. Compassion is healing.”

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