by George Capsis
We have all viewed, transfixed, the TV ads from New York Presbyterian Hospital in which a former patient describes a horrendous medical condition that all the other hospitals turned their back on and then—Presbyterian performs a medical miracle and we are all smiles.
So I took notice of a modest postcard that wanted to remind me that the Downtown hospital below 14th Street was a member of that very same Presbyterian Family and it eagerly awaited our medical needs, sitting as it does just below the Brooklyn Bridge.
As chance would have it, just a year ago we visited that very same hospital to learn how much of a hospital it was since we had lost St. Vincent’s and were in the process of losing Beth Israel.
The postcard touted their services and I thought maybe they had accelerated development given the explosion of condo towers in the Lower East Side. So I called the very young people who are charged with talking to the press, only to discover that they made it a rule never to actually talk to the press but to ask the press to email their questions so they might electronically circulate them in the vain hope that somebody in the hospital might answer them.
Now, think about it… a reporter may have an idea where he wants to go but he has to ask questions to get to the newsworthy answers.
So at last I acquiesced and sent the questions. When I received the answers, I decided to get even with the press youngsters, so I forwarded them on to the feisty doctor, David Kaufman, who walked into St. Vincent’s as an intern and was forced out 30 years later when it closed.
Below are inquires made by WestView News regarding NewYork-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital. The answers are provided by Robert Guimento, Chief Operating Officer. Following the answers, are responses by Dr. David Kaufman, M.D.
1. Do you plan to install a Cath Lab and when?
While we do not have a Cath Lab at New York-Presbyterian (NYP) Lower Manhattan Hospital, our partnership and collaboration with NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center allows us to provide seamless transfers to our lower Manhattan patients who require a Cath Lab. These transfers are completed by our own NewYork-Presbyterian access and transfer centers to ensure seamless transfer, communication and care.
DK: Seamless transfers???? Is that by helicopter? What is the average travel time? How many blocks and traffic lights is it? And meanwhile, during that seamless transfer, a patient is in the ambulance with an evolving heart attack. Remember: time is muscle.
2. How many beds does the hospital (NewYork-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan) now have?
180 certified beds.
DK: It would be an interesting exercise to roll back the clock to about 2008. St. Vincent’s and Beth Israel are open and operating. Count the “certified beds”. Hold the total. Now move forward to 2018. Count the residential population of lower Manhattan from 23rd Street to southern tip, east to west. Now add to that number the daily number of commuters to this region and the average number of tourists. Let’s make an assumption that the total population in 2008 and 2018 have a similar incidence of disease, acute strokes, acute heart attacks, acute trauma, etc. In other words we can assume that the population is not healthier or safer over the last ten years. Now do the division to calculate the number of beds/total population in 2008 and 2018. That will be an interesting (terrifying) number. And it does not even take into account the loss of life-saving services that disappeared with all the beds.
3. Does the hospital have a complete complement of scanning capabilities?
NYP Lower Manhattan has a full range of scanning services for the community needs which include MRI, CT, and ultra sound. These capabilities and others are available 24/7 for emergency and inpatient needs.
DK: Perhaps the more important question is what diagnostic and therapeutic interventional radiology services do they have? For example, can they embolize a bleeding vessel to prevent bleeding to death? Can they treat a stroke in evolution? Can they do angioplasty to open an acutely clogged blood vessel in the heart, etc etc.?
4. Do you plan a local office in the West Village such as Northwell has installed on 15th and 8th Street?
In conjunction with our physician partners at Weill Cornell Medicine, we are exploring opportunities to expand physician services for both primary and specialty care to our communities. Currently, we are looking at Tribeca and Lower Manhattan.
DK: How will more local offices change anything? Does it shorten the trip to treat a heart attack or stroke?
5. Do you have any special and unique medical capabilities?
NYP Lower Manhattan is a community hospital that provides a great range of community based services for our patients that include women and children’s health, orthopedic surgery and emergency medical care. We are a New York State Department of Health designated Primary Stroke Center and our stroke team is available 24/7. We have also have a unique setup with the Lower Manhattan Hospital Birthing Center that provides families with a natural home like birth experience within the hospital inpatient setting. Midwives assist the mothers with childbirth; with an attending physician on standby if they are needed.
DK: They are a fine community hospital with 180 beds to serve the entire lower Manhattan population that used to be served by at least two major academic medical centers with residency programs, medical school affiliations, etc.