Saving Your Life is Not Good Business “Urgent Care” Accepts that Heart Attack Victims are Expendable

By George Capsis

This is an open letter to the advertising department at Lennox Hill Hospital and North Shore LIJ.

A forty-six-year-old man with tearing chest pain stumbles into the emergency room at Beth Israel with his main artery disintegrating—he will die in hours if he does not have open heart surgery.

This is the opening of one of our articles this month, written by a nurse practitioner who left Beth Israel because he (and evidently many of the long serving Beth Israel medical personnel), felt the Mount Sinai take-over was insensitive to the professional fabric that made Beth Israel a “good” hospital—he feels Mount Sinai management tore things apart.

It takes time to build a good medical facility.

A lot of time. (St. Vincent’s had 161 years.) 

Now North Shore Long Island Jewish Hospital is committed to make its new medical facility on 7th Avenue and 13th street a success—but what is it? And what will constitute a success?

That is a question I believe many of the 30,000 readers of WestView are asking—what is that funny looking, medical something or other building all about?

I know because I recently used it.

“I keep vomiting,” I phoned my primary care physician and he told me to call 911 and have the ambulance take me to the urgent care center on 13th Street and 7th Ave. 

The incredibly young physician went out for consultation with a slightly older physician and I was bumpily ambulanced up to Lennox Hill hospital for surgery to remove “I don’t know what it was, maybe a pit” my Lenox Hill surgeon offered.

He encouraged me to eat to see if they had indeed removed whatever was blocking my intestines, and I would respond that the food was so bad I could not eat. I had to plead with my nice nurses to buy me some food on the outside—I fought to escape that hospital (I believe they use used frying oil to flavor the morning waffle).

Last month WestView did a story on the newly re-named Lenox Health Greenwich Village. The name indicates that it is the vacuum to funnel patients up to Lennox Hill on 77th Street and Lex (that is, before they find out how bad the food is) and indeed of the 7% who need hospitalization most go to Lennox Hill and a few to nearby Beth Israel (which as Bill Dienstag’s article reveals, has its own problems.)

According to Dr. Pruchnicki’s survey last month, the facility will grow adding X-ray, CT and MRI scan, ultra-sounds, mammograms and pediatric services by early 2016.

I can attest to their need for this new equipment because I used it six months ago when I needed a “work up” prior to my knee surgery. They sent me to a Beth Israel medical facility on 14th Street where the x-ray room was so small the technician had to raise my legs so that he could squeeze by.

OK, why am I writing this?

I have tried to talk on the phone to the two people who have been identified as responsible for advertising—but they will not come to the phone.

So I have written this letter to them for publication in our September issue (we will mail them the paper with the article and I bet anything they will read it.)

They may think that I am just the publisher of a small community paper and they don’t have to answer my calls. They may think all I want is their ad.

They don’t know me…

I fought for three years to save St. Vincent’s and I’m still fighting to recreate a trauma one emergency room in the Lenox Hill 13th Street facility or get one of our Village developers to donate $200,000 million a get a new hospital started.

Yes, I have been told that 24-7 emergency rooms are simply too expensive and are out of fashion and as Michael J. Dowling told a packed auditorium at PS 41 with his Limerick accent “we can take care of 90% of the cases.”

I am concerned with the other 10%—heart attack victims with only minutes to live as described in Bill Dienstag’s article.

And not their ad.


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