After a lack of response from management, a group of nurses is going public about the poor treatment of patients at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx. Speaking to The Daily News, the nurses describe “horror stories” of overcrowding, understaffed medical personnel, unsanitary conditions, and a management structure who seems oblivious or unconcerned about these serious problems. The deteriorating quality of care at the Bronx hospital endangers both patients, who are more likely to become sick with infectious diseases, and nurses, who are frequently attacked by mentally ill residents at the hospital.
In response to the allegations of overcrowding, understaffing, and inadequate medical care, a Montefiore spokeswoman pointed towards the Bronx hospital’s high ranking on Indeed.com – a website where employees review their employer. While Indeed may believe Montefiore is a pleasant work environment, their nurses disagree and, according to The Daily News, they have ample evidence. In one example, emergency room patients wait an average of 64 minutes before meeting with a healthcare professional – almost double the national average.
Unsurprisingly, the lower quality of care has caused patients at the Bronx hospital pain and suffering. According to the nurses, the hospitals are so overcrowded that patients are often placed in hallways throughout the hospital. For those with highly contagious illnesses or weakened immune systems, these germs and bacteria could be fatal. In addition to patients with contagious diseases, Bronx residents waiting for surgery are also routinely left in hallways, albeit “surrounded by screens,” the newspaper noted. Benny Matthew, a nurse at Montefiore, said it would not be uncommon to see 170 sickly patients crammed into an area with a maximum occupancy of 70. Matthews described the overcrowded conditions, lack of privacy, and overloaded nurses as being “like a refugee camp in a war zone.” Matthews, who is from India, then told the Daily News, “Even if I go to an emergency room in my country, I don’t see things like this.”
The danger to the patients and hospital staff is both real and common. Matthews describes patients with severe mental illnesses being placed in hallways only inches away from patients receiving CPR or blood transfusions. In one example cited by the nurse, a man in the psychiatric ward of the hospital put Matthews in a chokehold and physically assaulted him. Matthews said he could not escape because the entire hallway was filled with patients.
Despite the traumatic experience, Matthews says he only feels pity for the man who is forced to spend his days under fluorescent lighting in an overcrowded hallway, without access to a shower, or proper counseling. In a blunt and likely accurate statement, Matthews described the treatment of the hospital’s patients as “actually inhumane.” With increased attention by the press and a promise of an immediate and thorough probe by the Department of Investigation, its hopeful these Bronx patients will finally begin to experience humane treatment and healthcare befitting of a developed country.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, PLLC strive to protect the rights of patients. Please contact us with any concerns.