Yesterday I visited the Emergency Room of New York University Medical Center.
I am sorry to say that the ER of this major teaching hospital is an overcrowded mess. This is due to the closure of St. Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village. NYU as well as other “Midtown South” hospitals are taking-up the slack. (E.g., Bellevue and Beth Israel.)
The scene at NYU was something out of the movie Hospital. The ER was filled to over-capacity. Each bay was taken. Patients in beds, wheelchairs, and chairs were clogging the aisle. Patients were waiting for available beds upstairs. Orderlies pushing beds had to do so very carefully in view of the other beds and people in the center aisle. Every seat in the ER waiting room was filled. There were about 30 people in the waiting room.
There has been a failure of our political leadership in allowing St. Vincent’s to close. The Lower and Mid West Side lacks a hospital. Could not the City or State have taken-over St. Vincent’s ER as a temporary measure? We hope that this problem can be solved very soon.
In any event, with the burdening of various hospital ER’s, we foresee the “classic” horror of a patient dying while lying ignored in a corner of the ER. We also foresee overburdened ER personnel making mistakes due to the little time that can be spent with each patient.
If a patient is injured due to a failure to treat, the hospital can be liable for medical malpractice. A delay in treating can be malpractice. The fact that the ER is over-burdened is not a defense. The fact that the ER had to “take-up the slack” of a closed hospital is not a defense.
If you have been injured due to medical malpractice, please feel free to call me 800-581-1434 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.
Mark E. Seitelman, 5/5/10, www.seitelman.com.