Patient backlogs and staffing shortages have stretched New York City’s hospital system to the breaking point, leaving patients to suffer long waits surrounded by garbage and human waste.
One recent experience at Mount Sinai Hospital on Madison Avenue, which is one of the top hospitals in the city, shows how bad things have become. A woman who asked not to be named recounted to the Daily Mail how she brought her 67-year-old mother to the emergency room there and ended up living out a nightmarish 24 hours in unacceptable conditions.
She suspected her mother, who has cancer, might have been suffering from a stroke on March 8 when she started acting disoriented and rushed her to the emergency room. Although she received prompt attention and a CAT scan ruled out the possibility of a stroke within just 10 minutes, things got progressively worse as they waited to find out what had actually been causing her symptoms.
She described corners filled with people waiting, homeless people seeking treatment and being ignored by staff members, and trash all over the floor. Pans of vomit and urine were left lying around where they could easily be knocked over by one of the many people stuffed into the overcrowded ER.
Photos from the hospital ward showed some nurses chatting and browsing their smartphones as the chaos unfolded around them. In one photo, an orderly can be seen watching a soccer match on his computer as patients in the ward suffered, surrounded by human waste.
She said that no one offered to help her mother make it to the bathroom and when she tried to go herself, she stepped into a puddle of urine. She said that she asked a staff member if these conditions were representative of a typical day at the hospital, and she was told that the last two years have been like this.
She acknowledged that her mother, who was fortunate enough to have comprehensive health insurance, received excellent treatment when it appeared her life may be at risk, but once that was ruled out, her care became “disgusting.” Doctors and nurses did not answer any of their questions or give them a timeline about when they could expect blood test results.
She said: “Everyone kicks the can down the road, until their shift ends. And then when the new ones come on the ward they said they don’t know what’s going on.”
One sobbing woman complained of being there for 15 hours without getting help.
She said that when she was finally told her mother would be getting a room, she went home to take care of her child. When she called her mother the following morning, she found out that she was never brought to a room and was still in the open ward surrounded by filthy conditions. She ended up spending more than 27 hours in the hospital, yet doctors never discovered what caused her confusion and other symptoms.
Long waits and understaffed hospitals are problems throughout the nation
It’s not just New York City where patients are being left awaiting care in deplorable conditions; it’s a problem that is being seen around the country. Syracuse, New York, currently has some of the worst waits in the U.S., with patients there forced to wait three times longer than the national average.
Some of the horrific scenarios that have been reported there include a man with potential appendicitis waiting 16 hours for a doctor to see him, a man with a broken leg being forced to urinate in a plastic bottle while stuck for 24 hours in a hallway on a gurney, and a 67-year-old who had recently had a heart attack waiting 12 hours for chest pain treatment. Sixteen percent of emergency room patients leave SUNY Upstate University Hospital without receiving care; other hospitals note a rate of less than 1 percent.
Unfortunately, as long as qualified medical professionals are forced out of their roles due to Covid vaccine mandates and the healthcare economic system continues to pressure hospitals to fill their beds with the more profitable patients undergoing elective operations at the expense of people with legitimate emergencies, the situation is unlikely to improve any time soon.
Sources for this article include: