LICATHOLIC.ORG | Your Source for Local & Global Catholic News 

Diocese of Rockville Centre

Good Samaritan HospitalFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 

Contact: Colleen Valdini
Public & External Affairs Manager
Christine Hendriks,
VP, Public & External Affairs
Phone: (631) 376-4104Date:          

December 8, 2010


West Islip, NY – Pediatricians at Good Samaritan Hospital’s Center for Pediatric Specialty Care recognize the effect a diagnosis of autism can have on a family.  Parents want answers as to why and how this happened to their child.  One field of research to uncover the cause of autism is genetics.

Good Samaritan’s center’s mission and primary goal is to provide quality health care for children, enabling them to lead their normal daily lives with fewer hospital admissions and emergency department visits.  It is the only facility of its kind on the south shore of Long Island, staffed with subspecialty-trained neurologists who are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of autism.

“Genetics is at the top of the list for researching the cause of autism.  Any parent who wants more information is urged to be tested.  Genes and neurology go hand in hand,” explained Sarita Duchatelier, MD, director of pediatric neurology at Good Samaritan’s Center for Pediatric Specialty Care.

No one has surveyed the number of families of children with autism who seek genetic testing, and experts say the rate varies widely among different regions.  In the U.S., a child thought to have autism may be given a range of tests, including brain imaging, several genetic tests and electroencephalography, which involve measuring brain waves.  Although genetic tests directly benefit only a fraction of individuals with autism, they provide valuable information to families.

“This type of testing is for future research.  It is not going to provide parents with an answer to why their child is autistic.  Microarray genetic testing is also available for parents, but again is not an answer to why child are afflicted with autism”, stated Dr. Duchatelier.

The Center for Pediatric Specialty Care has the largest number of pediatric subspecialists in Suffolk County.  These pediatricians are trained in cardiology, pulmonology, neurology, infectious disease, endocrinology, gastroenterology, cystic fibrosis, sleep disorders and fetal echocardiography.  A pediatrician may refer a child to the Center for Pediatric Specialty Care when further diagnostic testing and diagnosis is needed.  For more information, please call (631) 376-4444.



Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center is a 537-bed (including 100 nursing home beds), voluntary, not-for-profit hospital located in West Islip.  The medical center, which has more than 4,500 employees and almost 900 physicians on staff, had more than 30,000 patient admissions and more than 95,000 emergency room visits in 2009.  Good Samaritan is a member of Catholic Health Services of Long Island. Visit the website at

Good Samaritan provides more than $54 million in community service and charity care each year.  The medical center supplies residents with the tools necessary to maintain good health.  This includes community lectures, screenings, health fairs and other community programs and services.