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The imbalance in hospitals and hospital beds between the East and West sides of Manhattan has been well documented in WestView News. However, alongside is another concern that affects the entire West side of the island, that of an unequal distribution of emergency rooms. The need to be near an emergency room in certain severe cases, such as heart attacks, strokes, and trauma, is clear, but it affects more then just the West Village. Whilst the merger of Mt. Sinai with Continuum (St. Luke’s/Roosevelt, Beth Israel, and NY Ear and Ear) gives people hope, it may only serve to reshuffle resources, and in a year or two from now we will be facing the same problems.

On the West Side of Manhattan, along the nine miles or so from 145th Street to the Battery, there are two general hospital emergency rooms at St. Luke’s Hospital (114th Street and Amsterdam Avenue) and at Roosevelt Hospital (10th Avenue and 57th Street). On the East Side there are nine at Harlem, Metropolitan, Mt. Sinai, Lenox Hill, Presbyterian/Cornell, NYU, Bellevue, Beth Israel, and Downtown. Furthermore, there are two hospitals which have emergency rooms limited to patients already utilizing them. These are the Veterans Hospital on 23rd Street and New York Eye and Ear Infirmary. Three other East Side hospitals admit patients through their clinics, private doctors’ offices, or as transfers from other institutions. These three are the Hospital for Special Surgery and the Hospital for Joint Diseases primarily for orthopedics and Gracie Square for psychiatric diseases.

This imbalance of two emergency rooms on the West Side and nine on the East Side, with a half dozen specialized hospitals with various admission protocols shows that it is widespread. Yet, since this imbalance is so clear, maybe someone is doing something about it. Well, no. In fact, it may be getting worse. There is now another enormous building going up at Mt. Sinai, but nothing that I know of going up on the West Side. The situation may be becoming even more unbalanced and nobody, not the State, City, Federal government, and certainly not the hospital systems themselves, seem to be willing or able to reverse the situation.

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