The sign at the entrance to Beth Israel Medical Center on First Avenue at 16th Street screams “EMERGENCY ROOM,” but five hours into her wait to be seen for sharp pain in her ribs, it didn’t feel that way to Yamira Velazquez.
Her regular hospital, Bellevue Hospital Center, shut down after Hurricane Sandy ripped through the northeast. So did both NYU Langone Medical Center and the VA Medical Center next door. Bellevue won’t reopen its emergency room until at least February. NYU and the VA have not yet announced dates.
And so, like thousands of others seeking immediate medical care, she ended up in the emergency room at Beth Israel, the last standing hospital for two and a half miles in any direction. Read More