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Critical Care

Binyamin Rose, Miami, Florida

America’s third-largest public hospital was on the verge of collapse until one savvy and determined Colombian-born Orthodox Jew delved into its troubled finances, Devised a bailout plan, and assumed the hospital’s chairmanship, winning acclaim from local officials, the media, and the Miami Beach Jewish community. Colleagues describe Marcos Lapciuc as a man with both brains and a heart — although it is his warm Jewish neshamah that most often shines.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Atop the helipad at Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital, with a panoramic view of downtown Miami four stories below and the Atlantic Ocean a shimmering gray-blue in the distance, all is quiet, but that silence can be burst in an instant.

At any moment, one of Miami-Dade County’s four Medivacs might swoop in for an emergency landing to rush a patient downstairs into a bay at the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson, a center packed with sophisticated, lifesaving equipment. Former first lady Barbara Bush might be the best-known patient ever treated at the trauma unit, but when Mitt Romney and Michelle Obama visited Miami on consecutive days the week before Election Day, the trauma unit was equipped for open contact with the White House situation room, as it always is for any visitor to the area entitled to Secret Service protection. 

“This hospital is a world of its own,” remarks Marcos Lapciuc, chairman of the Public Health Trust Board of Trustees at what is known formally as the Jackson Health System, one of America’s largest safety-net hospitals, providing in excess of $500 million of charity care per year.

On more routine days, US Army surgical teams receive training at the trauma center before they are deployed to Afghanistan. Israel has benefited from the training techniques of Dr. Enrique Ginzburg, a Cuban Jew and senior trauma surgeon, who has trained more than two-thirds of the surgeons staffing trauma units in Israeli hospitals. Jackson’s transplant center performs some of the medical world’s most cutting-edge operations, while boasting one of the nation’s shortest waiting lists for replacement organs. Its 126-bed neonatal unit is Florida’s largest. World-class surgeons at Jackson’s fetal therapy unit have saved the lives of countless unborn children through sophisticated in utero operations.

But all of these modern-day medical miracles were in danger of going down the drain just two short years ago, due to years of mismanagement. 

Until Marcos Lapciuc entered the picture.

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