Gowanus Lounge: Serving Brooklyn

On the Sofa: Daily Edition

November 23rd, 2008 · 6 Comments

“GL posts a lot of great stuff, but sometimes goes off the insane-o-meter. This is probably the worst example of journalism I have seen GL post. There are a number of anecdotal complaints about one ER which becomes the headline: ‘Slopers Continue Venting About Methodist Hospital ER Shitshow’. Methodist is no worse and no better than other city ER (I do not work for Methodist and am not a doctor)…This is not a story about how shitty Methodist is. It’s a story about a group of entitled people in the Park Slope area who find that on their one or two trips to a city ER that people did not cater to them hand-and-foot. Cry us a river. Yes, waiting at Methodist sucks. So does waiting at any ER. As for the both ridiculous (and dangerous) suggestion for taking a cab to a Manhattan ER, you will not find your wait time to be any less. The city’s ERs are understaffed with overworked doctors who are doing the best they can.”–Slopers Continue Venting About Methodist Hospital ER Shitshow

Tags: On the Sofa

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 David // Nov 23, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    I’m guessing that most of those who wrote in are probably younger parents who don’t have a lot of experience dealing with their kids’ medical issues, and are too young and healthy to have dealt with many of their own, save from maybe when they still lived in Podunksville. Welcome to the state of health care in the U.S., mommy and daddy! Yet another “rude awakening” to be experienced when having children. Your choices: 1) Keep scratching your heads wondering why and alternately complaining on the internet, 2) Get involved politically, on the local, state and/or national level, to help change what’s clearly a fundamentally flawed health care system.

  • 2 Jack // Nov 23, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    David, you could not be more wrong. First, if you simply clicked on the link to the original Gowanus Lounge post you’d see the three complaints were: 1) chest pains, 2) dislocated shoulder & 3) child bleeding and in pain from a hole in the mouth.

    None of this has anything to do with “…younger parents who don’t have a lot of experience dealing with their kids’ medical issues…” This has to do with the incompetence in the healthcare management in this country that is particularly bad in NYC.

    I’ve experienced emergency rooms in other cities/states when helping friends and family and it’s truly night and day. All care was speedy and very well triaged. Whereas in NYC triage seems to mean patients will simply be ignored and not even given basic care while they do other things.

    Here’s a suggestion: Elected officials won’t make any difference as a first line. Neither will complaints; i”m having flashbacks to the myriad of letters mailed to complain about my parent’s treatment in the 1980s/1990s.

    But you know what will solve the problem? Shame and airing this dirty laundry. And I encourage anyone/everyone who has had hellish emergency room experiences share them on blogs and let others know.

    And yes, I know there are people in emergency rooms that shouldn’t be there. But you know what? Let everyone say something. And hopefully the true horror stories will be passed along so the jerks who cause this mess can be exposed, disciplined and perhaps even fired.

  • 3 Brenda from Flatbush // Nov 24, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Jack, you are right on the mark. The family of the poor woman who recently died on the psych ER floor and lay there for hours would have been dismissed as “whiners,” too, if it weren’t for the videotape evidence. And yes, it’s not this way “everywhere,” not by a long shot.

  • 4 David // Nov 24, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    Jack/Brenda– I don’t see any discrepancy between what you and I are saying. You are certainly correct that “this has to do with the incompetence in the healthcare management in this country that is particularly bad in NYC.” It’s certainly true that we have to view what is happening as systemic and one that’s more likely to have impact on the underfunded, disorganized patchwork of “care” in NYC.

    I saw the health complaints; I did not mean to dismiss them but was merely pointing to the realities which those with a sense of privilege and entitlement chose to overlook until those realities smacked them in the face. No one gave a shirt about Methodist’s emergency room before “people [read: those with little melanin] moved to the neighborhood.” And overall, folks with smaller income and ZERO access to anything beyond the ER tend to suffer from more serious problems because they are compounded with a lifetime of lack of care. And it’s certainly sad that newer Slopers realized all too late that they were going to be treated little better than anyone else.
    What’s to say an internet media-oriented shame-and-blame approach will do anything to stop the health crisis (though I am imagining a fairly animated segment of Fox 5’s “Shame Shame Shame” with Arnold Diaz)? What proof is there that this will work?
    What I’m talking about does not have to do with elected officials or letter writing so much as a grass-roots movement of the caliber we witnessed during election season. “People” took to the streets in Brooklyn en masse when Obama was elected. Now that that election has ostensibly shown how many of us are actually in the same boat, we need to take to the streets again. This time, not for revelry but for raising actual demands for what ALL working people actually need immediately: Readily available and affordable access to healthcare.
    This problem is much, MUCH larger than the emergency room in your gentrified hood– and I absolutely guarantee you it won’t go away if we see it only in that light.

  • 5 Jack // Nov 24, 2008 at 10:37 pm

    David, you make some good points, but the general tone of people of “privilege” are the ones “whining” makes you come off petty and vindictive.

    “What’s to say an internet media-oriented shame-and-blame approach will do anything to stop the health crisis…”

    Easy. People with access to the Internet can now air their grievances instead of simply writing a letter that gets shuffled to a public relations flack in a hospital. It won’t change things, but it will let people know what’s happening.

    And I’ll be the first to admit that some posts on “Park Slope Parents” are panicky, but most parents are panicky no matter where they are from.

    This kind of stuff needs to be aired because it publicly shames the hospital. That will affect change.

    “What proof is there that this will work?”

    The proof is that local news “Shame on You” segments actually do get attention and affect change.

    Marching in the street means nothing nowadays unless someone is documenting it.

  • 6 David // Nov 25, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    I never used the word “whine” or “whining,” Jack– that word was used by both yourself and Brenda, though. I wonder where it came from, and why it was used?

    The issue of perceived privilege and entitlement is a very real one– it contributes to the rhetoric that edges people out of neighborhoods (and the hospitals that go with them).

    I’m glad you’ve admitted that people with access to the internet “won’t change things,” and I couldn’t agree with you more. That you later follow with “That will affect change” is a little bit puzzling, however. If we’re really going to roll with the internet as an “easy” way to change or not change things, I’ll point out that, believe it or not, a digital divide still exists in this country, and that NYC is no exception.

    Who controls the hegemony of complaints that get aired to establishments and media, and what complaints then get broadcast? For the most part, it is not the complaints of the working and poor without access to healthcare. It is folks who think the world, and consequently their neighborhood, need to revolve around THEIR needs, THEIR strollers, THEIR kids’ problems. Again, these were seemingly non-issues in the neighborhood before reverse-white-flight began. And the real issues at that time rarely broke through the din.

    I still see no proof that “Shame on You” segments actually affect change. Would you mind providing some?

    Community organizing does. Look at the work Obama did on the south side of Chicago. Look at the community organizing that’s gone on in Brooklyn to stop or freeze many of the rabid, ugly developments. And remember that the lion’s share of FDR’s reforms back in the day were only enacted because there were millions out on the street pressing for real change. They didn’t have the internet then.