A pediatrician recently recounted his experience at Coney Island Hospital as a resident to the New York Post. The MD reportedly witnessed terrible patient care, especially for children. The physician wished to remain anonymous as he discussed the negligence, substandard care and poor supervision he observed at the hospital during his three years of residency. The physician was warned by colleagues about how unsafe the hospital was and it was not long before he realized that it was especially dangerous for children.
A fellow physician was working his usual shift when a frantic father ran into the pediatric clinic holding his son five year old son. The boy appeared almost gray, was not breathing and had a dangerously low pulse. The father was not able to explain what happened because he did not speak English and a translator was not available. After a few moments, the child’s pulse stopped. The doctor began CPR immediately and ordered the nurse to get an IV and an adrenaline shot from the crash cart. The nurses looked at the doctor with a blank stare because they did not know what he needed or where to find it; and the supervising doctor was nowhere to be found.
Some time later the nurses were able to find the cart and the doctor administered the adrenaline shot through the IV, which the student doctor had to insert on his own, and the child’s heart began to beat again. The child was taken to the ER and then rushed to an ICU at another hospital; they do not know what became of the child. The physician believes he was severely brain damaged due to the loss of oxygen to his brain. The physician said, each time a child came into the ER at Coney Island, it felt as though “you were running a one man show.” The hospital is reportedly understaffed, resulting in nurses being pulled from different departments who do not know how to place an IV in a child or perform CPR on an infant.
During the physician’s third year at the hospital, a time when student doctors work 24 hour shifts, an infant with bronchiolitis was admitted. Upon arrival, he did not like the way the child looked. He was in distress and taking a lot of quick breaths. The infant was given nebulizer treatments and nasal suctions. However, his condition did not improve — very little oxygen was flowing through his lungs; after a certain amount of time trying to breathe, babies will become exhausted and their breathing begins to slow. The physician requested the baby be transferred to the ICU immediately because he knew they did not have the type of mask necessary to stabilize breathing. The attending physician disagreed and took the infant’s labored breathing as a sign that he was getting better. The baby’s condition worsened after hours of inaction and the attending physician finally sent the child to the ICU.
The physician said children were treated “willy-nilly” every day, being given every possible medication instead of using evidence based medicines and coming up with a real diagnosis. The staff at the hospital also reportedly had poor work ethic, leaving regularly for food or to nap while physicians chose not to take charge. Many physicians were also not up to date on current medical guidelines and practiced outdated methods. The physician felt helpless at that hospital and believed the doctors there went against their oath to not harm patients. On his last day at the hospital he said he was happy to leave forever, but he still feared for the children.
In February Griel Soto, a grandmother from Brooklyn, died from a misdiagnosis and botched treatment. This incident began an investigation that found six federal code deficiencies in patient rights and emergency services. Soto was suffering from meningitis and her family stated that she was treated as though she was emotionally disturbed and tied to her bed. The family has filed suit against the hospital. Two of the hospital’s head administrators were reassigned after Soto’s death. Two executives, the director of emergency nursing and the chief nursing officer handed in retirement papers as well. Consumer Reports gave the hospital a safety score of 37 out of 100 in 2015, placing it near the bottom of hospitals in New York. The Department of Health issued 34 citations to the hospital regarding four inspections from July 2012 to June 2015.