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New medical center opens at Kennedy Airport

With hundreds of thousands of travelers, airline workers and other visitors using John F. Kennedy International Airport every day, there are countless health risks faced by people at the airport, according to Dr. Manuel Ceja.

“It’s like a small city here,” he said. “There is a whole different side of medicine that people don’t see.”

A new medical facility located within the airport is designed to alleviate the problem by giving JFK users quick access to basic health needs. The 5,000-square-foot center that opened last week at the airport’s Building 75 has the latest technology for treating all sorts of ailments related to several fields, including occupational therapy, orthopedics and neurology.

Ceja, the medical director of the facility, has worked for years as a senior medical examiner for the Federal Aviation Administration and said having a facility within the airport is crucial because it is an important lifeline for the city’s commerce.

“It’s a 24-hour operation and there are working people who are in the airport, so problems occur all the time,” he said.

The medical center has a staff of 20 medical professionals from doctors and nurses to mental health specialists. It boasts seven medical exam rooms, an audiology room and a small emergency room used for dealing with small traumas.

The facility is equipped with state-of-the-art technology used to speed up the physicians’ work, according to Dr. Raymond Kayume, the practice manager for the center. One of the advanced tools is the digital X-ray machine that does not waste time processing film.

“It has been built from the ground up to fit the needs of the community,” Kayume said.

The center is open to patients who do not frequent the airport as well, according to administrators. After Mary Immaculate Hospital in Jamaica closed down last year, southeast Queens residents have been searching for a strong medical facility to fit their needs and the JFK center can fill some of that void, according to Kayume.

“If someone is traveling [overseas], they might need shots so they can come here to get it,” he said.

The center is affiliated with MediSys Health Network, the parent company of Jamaica, Flushing and Peninsula hospitals, and Kayume said his staff would use that partnership to help patients.

“Since Jamaica Hospital is the closest, if there is an emergency and we can’t handle it here, we’ll send it to Jamaica,” he said.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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