SPRINGFIELD — State and local officials, leaders at Mercy Medical Center, and friends and family of the late Andy Yee gathered at the medical center Tuesday for the announcement of plans to create a palliative care unit that will bear Yee’s name.
The unit, which is expected to open before the end of the year, will be located on the fifth floor of Mercy Medical Center and will be overseen by Dr. Philip Glynn, medical director of the Mercy’s Sister Mary Caritas Cancer Center, and Laurie Loiacono, M.D., Chief of Critical Care. The unit will be designed to provide an inviting, soothing space for end-of-life care for patients and families, as well as patients with chronic illnesses requiring pain and symptom management. All clinical staff involved in caring for patients and family members on the new unit will receive specialized training that focuses on palliative care.
Following Yee’s cancer diagnosis, the well-known restaurateur sought treatment at the Sister Caritas Cancer Center, where Yee and his family developed a strong relationship with Glynn, his oncologist. Grateful for the high quality, compassionate care Yee received until his passing last year, his wife, Sarah Yee, approached hospital leaders about creating a space dedicated to palliative care for patients.
“She has a clear understanding of the difficulties you and your loved one face when suffering from a serious illness, and she wants to ensure that more people have access to that same level of care and individual attention when it’s most needed,” said Deborah Bitsoli, president of Mercy Medical Center.
Bitsoli was one of many who spoke at the press conference to announce the new unit. Others included Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Glynn, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, and Sarah Yee.
Collectively, they spoke of Andy Yee’s strong support for Mercy Medical Center and its staff and his passion for service to the community. They said the new palliative care unit would be a fitting legacy to an individual who found many ways to give back to the community and help others.