Saturday, April 10, 2010

So Long St. Vincent's

It's finally happened -- St. Vincent's Hospital, one of the most important in the city and a Greenwich Village institution -- is finally closing. After failing to get any money to plug its $700 million deficit, the hospital shut its emergency room yesterday and very soon the entire hospital will be gone for good.

Can you imagine that? A big empty hospital in the heart of NYC. So retarded.

It's a long story why this happened. Apparently the hospital had been losing money for years (fiscal mismanagement? A bad economy? Other reasons? All of the above!). The owners decided, obviously, that this couldn't continue, and the state and city government doesn't have the money right now to save it (they don't have the money to do anything these days, as we know); so now, after more than a hundred years, it's gone.


In a city that continues to grow and grow, we can't afford to have fewer hospitals. Not only will Manhattan be down an emergency room -- putting more strain on the already overflowing ERs in this town and possibly endangering lives -- but there will also be fewer places for mothers to give birth.

This lack of hospitals isn't only a Manhattan problem. It's city-wide. In Queens, St. John's, Parkway, and Mary Immaculate closed last year. That's three hospitals in a borough bigger than most American cities -- in a year! In Astoria, Mount Sinai Hospital desperately needs to expand to accommodate the overflow but, naturally, lack of money and some neighborhood resistance is making this hard.

I was at an event a few months ago where an official from this hospital made a convincing case as to why this hospital expansion is so necessary -- and then someone who violently disagreed piped up and raised her many objections (citing noise, increased traffic, etc. that the expansion would entail. You see how hard this kind of thing can be).

Mayor Bloomberg, I appeal to you directly: if your recent $100 million re-election means anything, if you want your third term to have a legacy to equal your first two, if you want to justify the overturning of term limits and the trampling of democracy, then please sir, fix the hospital crises in NYC!

You and your supporters claim that you have extraordinary leadership skills -- well here, more than anywhere else, is your chance to prove it.

So prove it!

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