By George Capsis
“I have no front page article,” I offered our Production Committee, just days away from closing the February issue.
I had hoped that our very experienced and accomplished fundraiser might have uncovered a promising money trail to our very own hospital via organizations that give to medical causes but no, “It takes time, it takes time.”
I had also hoped that I might be able to work with the American Institute of Architects or the Pratt Institute to create a more finished rendering of the Pier 40 hospital but I got, “Send me an email,” and then the run around and finally nothing.
And then Arthur Schwartz emailed me as his wife drove him to Northwell’s Lenox Health Greenwich Village. He typed, “I think I am having a heart attack,” and we had our front page.
He did have a heart attack and the facility on 7th Avenue and 13th Street, which is more like a receiving dock for Lenox Hill Hospital, could scan and confirm the condition but they could not treat it. No, for that he would have to visit a real hospital that had a catheterization lab (“Cath Lab”).
A catheter is a flexible wire-like device which is inserted into an artery either, from your groin or arm. It is viewed by x-ray as the doctor makes his way to the constriction in the artery and, hopefully, releases it.
When Dusty and I got to Beth Israel (yes, they sent him to Beth Israel which has a Cath Lab, or will until Mount Sinai closes it) we heard, “I want to go to NYU,” as Arthur instructed the medical person (maybe a doctor) at Northwell. Perhaps he had anticipated that the best doctors had already fled in anticipation of its sale to the Trump Organization. He received a hesitant, “We have an arrangement with Beth Israel.”
You can read about what happened when Arthur arrived, in his own account, on pages 1 and 10.
Mrs. Schwartz arrived with their two lovely daughters and we went to the nurses’ station. There, we heard their complaints and some information as to “why Mount Sinai was closing the hospital.” The reason they gave was different from the one presented during the community meeting on October 27, 2016. In November 2016, we reported that the closing had to do with a federal funding formula which makes the hospital lose money but, and this is very important, they promise that nobody will lose his job.
And then I heard a shocker.
A Beth Israel Cath Lab nurse came to see me a few months ago to complain about Mount Sinai’s inept efforts to “manage” Beth Israel. When I told her that Lenox Health Greenwich Village was talking seriously of opening a Cath Lab, our nurse shook her head and said, “They can’t do that unless they have an operating room standing by because, if the catheter pierces an artery, they have to go in and repair the damage.”
The nurses just 30 feet from Arthur’s bed then announced that the operating room just down the hall, which had been used to treat heart patients, was closed last week to save money. Now, patients would have to be rushed to an operating room in another building.
We need a hospital that starts and ends with the real needs of the community. I believe we need a big donor like Kenneth Langone who gave $200 million to NYU so that this starts out as, and remains, our hospital.
Sure, greed-driven medical costs and corporate and government bureaucracy will remain, but you can’t cure a problem unless you understand it and, right now, Northwell has hired the same PR firm, SKDKnickerbocker, that Bill Rudin used to acquire St. Vincent’s. They are paying a lot of money for lies and the cost will show up on Arthur’s medical bill.