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At the height of the pandemic, with cases of the coronavirus overwhelming hospitals in the city, a number of pop-up / country hospitals have emerged. In the center Jacob Javits. In Central Park. Off Pier 90. And at the USTA’s Billie Jean King Tennis Center in Queens. Now, the NY Times reports that the Tennis Center Field Hospital treated just 79 patients and cost $ 52 million.
“Doctors at Queens Hospital Center, a public hospital in Jamaica, and other medical centers wanted to transfer patients to Billie Jean King. But they have been stymied by bureaucracy, turf battles and communication problems, according to internal documents and interviews with workers, “reports the Times. “New York paid up to $ 732 an hour for some of Billie Jean King’s doctors, but the city made them spend hours on paperwork. They were supposed to treat coronavirus patients, but they didn’t accept people with fever, a hallmark symptom of. Officials said the site would serve critically ill patients, but workers said it had opened with only one or two fans. ”
The hospital opened in early April with 475 beds. A nurse from Baltimore who was stationed at the field hospital told The Times, “I was getting roughly $ 2,000 a day to sit on my phone and watch Facebook. We all felt guilty. I was really ashamed, to be honest.
About 1,100 patients were treated at the Javits Center, and the ship USNS Comfort Hospital, which initially did not even accept COVID patients, treated 182. Samaritan’s Purse field hospital, operated by homophobic evangelicals, in Central Park dealt with 315.
Other things that kept the Tennis Center field hospital from accepting patients, according to the Times: “The city did not allow ambulances to take 911 calls to Billie Jean King because officials in the health officials said they did not trust the facility to triage patients ”; they couldn’t pick up patients from hospitals; doctors in private hospitals believed that the hospital would only accept patients from public hospitals; and doctors in public hospitals believed they would get no income and only patients with “extremely mild symptoms” would be accepted.
The mayor had proclaimed: “This facility will begin to welcome non-resuscitated patients, bring them here, relieve some of this pressure immediately. ”
The field hospital closed on May 13. A Blasio aide who oversaw the hospital, Jackie Bray, told the newspaper that the city expects the federal government to reimburse the city for the cost: “The alternate space has been used less than expected. be because we broke the curve, thank goodness. ”
Another field hospital planned by the city, that of the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, closed without any patients and costs $ 21 million in construction costs.