A top New York heath executive has slammed the ‘ridiculous’ red-tape on the U.S.N.S Comfort as it accepts just three patients in the four days since it docked in New York City on Monday.
The Navy hospital ship was dispatched by President Donald Trump as a beacon of hope to the struggling city as the coronavirus outbreak in the Big Apple reached 51,809 cases and 1,562 deaths as of 5pm Thursday.
There are now 236,086 U.S. cases and 5,647 deaths across the country.
The ship was to supply the city not only with much needed beds but with desperately needed medical personnel who would treat non-coronavirus patients on board.
Yet the ship’s 1,000 beds remain mostly empty as strict protocol sees it refuse to accept not just coronavirus patients but a long list of patients with other conditions despite the increasing crisis in New York hospitals, as overwhelmed health care workers begin to fall ill and the high number of patients sees some die in hallways before they can be hooked up to a ventilator.
Michael Dowling, the head of Northwell Health, New York’s largest hospital system, has called the Navy’s restrictions a ‘joke’ as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also argued the ship should begin to accept coronavirus patients.
‘If I’m blunt about it, it’s a joke,’ said Michael Dowling, the head of Northwell Health, New York’s largest hospital system.
‘Everyone can say, “Thank you for putting up these wonderful places and opening up these cavernous halls.” But we’re in a crisis here, we’re in a battlefield.’
The need for medical personnel in New York City is so severe that Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday pushed President Donald Trump to begin a national enlistment that would send people with medical training from other states to the front line of the epicenter.
Despite the drastic need, there are currently some 1,200 crew aboard the USNS Comfort who are idle with a lack of patients due to the strict protocols in place that has seen them refusing to take certain medical conditions.
In Los Angeles, the USNS Mercy has also only accepted 15 patients.