We live in a city where celebrities, business moguls, millionaire athletes, and politicians from all over the world receive some of the best health care available anywhere. But the hospitals that service most New Yorkers are increasingly underfunded, understaffed, and are closing down or consolidating into smaller departments with fewer staff and more patients. Many of the neighbors of Interfaith Medical Center (Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn) tell us “who cares if that hospital closes down when we have to wait 10 hours in the ER?” And we know exactly where they are coming from.
The problem is, as already insufficient hospitals continue to close, the pressure on other hospitals undergoing budget cuts and downsizing becomes even greater. Interfaith closing won’t mean that more staff will be added to nearby Woodhull, already understaffed and overcrowded, where many from the neighborhood will be forced to go for emergency care. It simply means that people will have to travel painful distances for medical attention.
And worse yet, once a hospital is closed, the fight to improve the quality of care it provides is over for good. There will be no transforming Interfaith once its doors close forever. But if the workers and community can fight to keep it afloat, then the real fight begin: to make the hospital work for the community.
The horror stories from the ever-worsening hospitals reserved for low income New Yorkers never end. We present just the latest, from the Bronx, where a NYC man named John Verrier died in the emergency room waiting for care, and nobody even seemed to notice.