a spoonful of sugar
Yesterday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and city officials unveiled a new initiative to limit supplies of prescription painkillers in the city’s emergency rooms as a way to combat what they described as a growing addiction problem in the region. Some critics, as documented by The New York Times, however, felt the move would unnecessarily hurt poor and uninsured patients who use emergency rooms as their primary care doctor. Needless to say, Mr. Bloomberg was not swayed by this line of argument.
“The city hospitals we control, so … we’re going to do it and we’re urging all of the other hospitals to do it, voluntary guidelines. Somebody said, oh, somebody wrote, ‘Oh then maybe there won’t be enough painkillers for the poor who use the emergency rooms as their primary care doctor,’” the mayor said on his weekly radio show with John Gambling. “Number one, there’s no evidence of that. Number two, supposing it is really true, so you didn’t get enough painkillers and you did have to suffer a little bit. The other side of the coin is people are dying and there’s nothing perfect … There’s nothing that you can possibly do where somebody isn’t going to suffer, and it’s always the same group [claiming], ‘Everybody is heartless.’ Come on, this is a very big problem.”
St. Vincent’s hospital was closed in 2010, but a group of six demonstrators spent much of yesterday protesting Council Speaker Christine Quinn and the City Council for voting to approve Rudin Management’s plan for the site formerly occupied by the hospital. The protesters appeared at yesterday’s council meeting when the vote was taken and were thrown out after booing from the gallery. They also followed Ms. Quinn to her appearance at a 92nd Street Y panel where people in the audience heckled Ms. Quinn as she spoke and a small contingent stood outside holding signs that said carried signs showing off the low number of hospital beds on the West Side below 57th Street and mocking Ms. Quinn with the slogan “Quinn To City: Drop Dead.”
“You know, it was all basically a done deal and Christine has the entire City Council in her pocket and the mayor did not stand up for a full service emergency hospital. There’s no reason why there can’t be an emergency hospital,” Ms. Katz told The Politicker. “Christine Quinn, this is her district, she betrayed her district, she betrayed the entire downtown community.”
Ms. Quinn has been praised for extracting a series of concessions from Rudin Management in the plan approved by the Council. Under the deal Rudin agreed to reduce the number of condos that will be built on the site and to give up land that will be used for a park, 24-hour medical center and school.