Doctors and Nurses to Rally at St. Vincent's Tuesday

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Photo by William Alatriste, courtesy NYC Council
Medical staff from St. Vincent's are not happy with what they feel was an abrupt shutdown of talks that might have saved the hospital, and will gather tomorrow with local residents in a community rally/press conference to speak out on the closing. Many are increasingly concerned that the state's proposed urgent care center will be unable to adequately treat the hospital's 60,000 annual ER patients. (We are concerned about what happens when those ER patients don't get treatment in hospitals and take to the streets all apocalyptic zombie-style. Not pretty. Nor healthy.)

Per the New York Times, other New York City hospitals are already feeling the strain of taking on patients -- "drunken bar hoppers who have gotten into fights or fallen down stairs; young adults who have overdosed on pills; and tourists and residents suffering from more ordinary aches, pains and mishap" -- who would have otherwise been admitted by St. Vincent's.

Over the weekend, Beth Israel Medical Center and Bellevue Hospital Center -- both east of St. Vincent's -- reported an increased number of emergency patients from the Village area.

Dr. Marc Felberbaum, an emergency room attending doctor at Beth Israel, said he had come to work at 8 a.m. Sunday to find about 25 people still being cared for in the emergency room, instead of the usual four or five.

Doctors at St. Vincent's said that they'd heard Bellevue and Beth Israel had been so overwhelmed by patients who would have previously gone to St. Vincent's that they'd stopped taking ambulance traffic at certain points. Doctors at Bellevue and Beth Israel denied that.

Meanwhile, paramedics are concerned that increased times (19 minutes instead of 5, in one instance) to get patients to alternative care facilities will lead to problems for patients sooner rather than later.

Patrick Powers said he had picked up a patient at Grove and Bleecker Streets early Sunday and taken him to Beth Israel. "We drove right by St. Vincent's," Mr. Powers said. "There is going to be a tragedy. I guarantee it."

The rally will take place at noon at 7th Avenue and Greenwich Avenue. Hundreds of local residents as well as community board members, doctors, and nurses are expected.


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