From the Queens Chronicle:
Horror stories about nightmarish waits in emergency rooms packed with the sick and injured have become a common topic of conversation in many of the doctors’ offices.
“By the time the ER physician got back to him — he stayed on a stretcher, it looked like Afghanistan with tents all over the place — it took him 10 hours,” said Dr. Richard Gasalberti, a Forest Hills sports medicine and rehabilitation specialist, said of one patient.
And despite their best efforts to keep care local, many of the doctors say that staying in Queens has become a source of dread among their patients.
“It’s not even that doctors are referring patients to Manhattan. The frustration among patients — because of the wait in the emergency room and, if they are admitted, the wait in getting upstairs — are making patients on their own just go into Manhattan, because they figure they’re going to get seen quicker, they’re going to be treated quicker, they’re going to get a room upstairs in the hospital quicker,” said Dr. William Lipsky, a Glendale-based infectious disease specialist.
And as their paying patients continue to flee the borough, local doctors fear that area hospitals are increasingly becoming havens for the indigent and uninsured — a recipe for financial disaster.
Medisys Health Network, which operates Jamaica and Flushing hospitals, recently reported severe financial problems despite substantial increases in patient volume.
“If there’s some kind of crisis there’s going to be a disaster,” said Girish Desal, clinical director for Capitol Health Management in Astoria.