Following the explosion and subsequent collapse of two buildings in East Harlem due to a gas leak, doctors, caregivers, and NYSNA nurses at Mt. Sinai Hospital, Metropolitan Hospital and Harlem Hospital worked tirelessly to treat the dozens of patients injured as a result of the disaster.
According to the NYTimes, the death toll stands at eight as of last night. Besides those that lost their homes in the collapsed buildings, around 70 people that live in neighboring buildings, including numerous children, have been displaced. Many of the displaced live in buildings that lost power as a result of the accident, and are not allowed to return to their homes at this juncture.
A Red Cross shelter has been set up in a Salvation Army building at 125th Street and Third Avenue to provide a temporary home for those that are unable to return to their homes.
Our hearts go out to victims of the East Harlem explosion & we salute the Mount Sinai Hospital caregivers, doctors & NYSNA RNs who cared for them.
Jill Furillo, Executive Director of NYSNA, highlights that Interfaith is the go-to hospital for 160,000 residents of Central Brooklyn. It is a full service institution and "the largest private behavioral health facility in Brooklyn, providing 14% of in-patient psychiatric care in the borough, or one of every 25 psychiatric beds in all of New York City." Brooklyn residents have come to rely on these services. Currently Interfaith is more than full: it is operating at 104% capacity, in part due to season-related sickness and injury. But it is in bankruptcy because "more than 60% of Interfaith’s patients are enrolled in Medicaid, which translates to low reimbursements to hospitals. A small portion of just-awarded Medicaid waiver funds would keep Interfaith open for care."
After more than a year of rallies, marches, court hearings, and even arrests, we have reached an agreement with SUNY on a new process that has the best chance of LICH remaining a hospital and which we hope will lead to the best possible outcome for the patients served by LICH.
This groundbreaking agreement requires SUNY to engage in a new open and transparent process for determining who will take over LICH, a process which prioritizes operators committed to running a full-service hospital and which gives the community significant decision-making power. Never before has the community had a voice in determining the future of a hospital.
LICH nurses continue to put community needs first. At an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday night, with more than fifty people in attendance, NYSNA RNs, along with doctors, 1199SEIU caregivers, and community members pledged to stay united, to move forward with one voice, and to stick together no matter what. Our coalition has kept the hospital open for more than a year, and our united coalition is the best hope for meeting the healthcare needs of the community.
The New York Times ran an article this weekend by Lawrence K. Altman, M.D. in their health-related blog, The Well, highlighting the importance of nursing in our healthcare system.
The article notes that RNs provide the personal touch that is so often missing in our healthcare facilities today, but it also notes that nurses have also "saved many doctors from making fatal mistakes in caring for patients."
Altman reports that Dr. Arnold S. Relman, a former eminent medical educator that is now recovering from an accident, expressed his newfound appreciation for the role of RNs in medical care in his recent article on his injuries and the medical treatment he received in the New York Review of Books. Relman is 90 years old, and spent an entire career working in healthcare. As the author notes, the fact that his appreciation is "new" is what is perhaps so surprising and indeed disturbing.
Altman suggest that medical professionals are often taught in silos, and perhaps a more dynamic and collaborative approach should be explored to provide holistic care in the future.
NYSNA is announcing two workshops on Emergency Room nursing: one is coming up soon on March 6-7 and the other is in the Fall of 2014 on November 6-7. The workshops will be held in NYSNA's New York Office and will prepare participants to take the ENA examination to achieve certification in ER nursing.