Robert A. Moraru, M.D., of Lower Manhattan Medical Associates has opened a satellite office in East Hampton where he hopes eventually to practice dermatology full time. But for now he can be seen in the office, at 300 Pantigo Place, on alternate Fridays and Saturdays. He opened in June and has already built up a neighborhood practice. He accepts most insurance.
Dr. Moraru bought a house in Northwest Woods, East Hampton, right after the devastation at the World Trade Center in 2001. His Manhattan office is a block away from the Twin Towers and he had to evacuate it immediately. Many of his patients worked in the towers, and he lost quite a few of them.
One was a young man he successfully treated for acne before his wedding, planned for later that September. The man’s fiancée was so pleased with the results that on Sept. 10 she visited Dr. Moraru to thank him and give him a hug for clearing up her future husband’s skin before the big day. “The next day he was gone,” the doctor said, looking away.
He was one of the first doctors on the scene to treat injured rescue workers and was put in charge. He worked out of a damaged deli for two weeks across the street from the carnage until the Disaster Medical Assistance Team showed up and told him he could leave. “I didn’t want to leave. I had no place to go, and I knew I was helping,” he said.
Before the attack, Dr. Moraru had completed a renovation of his office, which he took over in 2000 from a friend who was retiring. He wasn’t sure what he would find when he was allowed to return. The space was covered in a heavy layer of dust that needed an industrial cleaning. Equipment and supplies were severely damaged and had to be replaced.
On a recent visit in East Hampton he seemed thrilled that his patients in the waiting room knew one another and were having a chat fest. They included a veterinarian, a schoolteacher, and a high school student. “Everyone is so friendly,” he said, grinning.
The demographic on the South Fork is not what he expected. He was surprised to find so much skin cancer. He said he thought he would be pumping Botox and other substances into the “ladies who lunch” but has found a huge need for medical dermatology.
In East Hampton he has two examination rooms and a large reception area with a bank of computers. There is one medical assistant and a receptionist. “We’re small, but we’re hoping to get bigger,” he said.
Reli Zahner, an aesthetician, performs European facials, warming peels, and other treatments in the office. “It’s relaxing and therapeutic. You come in for the cleanse and leave feeling really good,” Dr. Moraru said.
At present, he practices in Manhattan Monday to Thursday and then drives out with his family. They gather up their belongings and head back to the city early Monday morning. But he is not bothered by the commute.
“This is home to me. I want to offer good medical care out here. I even love the winters,” he said with a laugh.