New York City is desperately pleading for healthcare workers and equipment for the fight against the coronavirus — but a local doctor who has offered his network of 600 beds and 100 physicians said city and state bureaucrats have ignored him.
Dr. Yan Katsnelson said he’s been trying for weeks to get the offices of Mayor Bill de Blasio, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the city and state health departments to take him up on his offer.
His 30 temporarily closed health clinics — equipped with 5,000-plus masks and oxygen machines — are collecting dust, he said, while overwhelmed local hospitals are forced to treat patients in hallways and waiting-room chairs.
“De Blasio said right now I will take beds anywhere and everywhere. What the hell is he talking about?” said Katsnelson, claiming his staff contacted City Hall “several times” in the last two weeks offering to take in COVID-19 patients or relieve hospitals of non-coronavirus patients.
“My CEO is desperate to offer a helping hand with our equipped medical facilities and physicians, [nurse practitioners] and [physician assistants],” a Katsnelson employee wrote in a March 19 email to city Health Department Assistant Commissioner Jennifer Rakeman, state Bureau of Communicable Disease Control director Daniel Kuhles, state Division of Epidemiology director Debra Blog, and others.
The employee also spoke briefly to de Blasio aide Freddi Goldstein later that day. She also contacted the governor’s office, said Katsnelson, a Chicago-based cardiovascular surgeon who owns a national network of vascular and fibroid clinics.
They haven’t heard back since mid-March.
“Telephone calls were made … voice mails were left and not returned,” the employee said of the city and state runaround.