Since it's first case was identified in late February, NYC has had more than 211,000 residents infected with COVID and over 21,000 deaths, the majority of which have been people of color and those who live in lower income areas of New York. The economic divide in New York City is now more evident than ever. While higher income families have the ability to stay in the safety of their home or even escape the city to wait out the pandemic, essential workers must risk their lives every day just to stay afloat. Areas in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens, home to many essential workers and lower income families have been hit the hardest. While every hospital in New York City has struggled to keep up with the cases of Covid-19 and has lost significant amounts of money due to lack of usual revenue streams, it is public hospitals and smaller private hospitals in poorer neighborhoods of New York that have been more harshly affected by the virus. The report, “On Restructuring the NYC Health+Hospitals Corporation — Preserving and Expanding Access to Care for All New Yorkers” provides an analysis of the critical role of the city’s public hospital network. According to the report, NYC H+H provides costs and services that private hospitals attempt to avoid, including a disproportionate share of care for the un- and under-insured (NYS Nurse's Association). The New York City healthcare system relies on public hospitals to support and serve poorer areas of New York, and it is these hospitals that are struggling the most with the rise of Covid-19.
Elmhurst Hospital Center, a public Hospital in Queens, taken by Ryan Christopher Jones with the New York Times
Tents set up by Elmhurst Hospital Center in response to the need for Covid-19 testing (NYT)
OUR MISSION- SUPPORT ELMHURST HOSPITAL CENTER,
a public hospital in need
In a city ravaged by the corona virus, few places have suffered as much as central Queens, where a seven-square-mile patch of densely packed immigrant enclaves recorded more than 7,000 cases in the first weeks of the outbreak (NYT). Elmhurst Hospital Center, a public hospital in Queens, New York, serves a lower income area that is home to approximately one million people. Elmhurst, Queens is, perhaps, the most ethnically diverse community in the world with 20,000 recent immigrants from 112 different countries. Elmhurst Hospital Center serves a predominantly poor and medically under-served population that faces a range of cultural, linguistic, economic and legal-status barriers to care. The majority of their patients are uninsured or on Medicaid (NYC H+H). In an article written by By Ben McVane, a doctor at EHC, he notes that "one in five people living in Elmhurst lives in poverty. Some who are sick or medically at high risk of becoming sick have continued to work because they can’t afford to lose wages or their jobs."
Elmhurst Hospital Center was one of the earliest and hardest-hit by the virus. Journalists Annie Correal and Andrew Jacobs with the New York Times report dozens of Covid-19 patients clogging the hallways of the Elmhurst Hospital Center as they wait for beds, terrified, alone and often unable to communicate in English. In an interview, Dr. Lane recalled recently treating a man in his 30s whose breathing deteriorated quickly and he had to be put on a ventilator. "He was distressed and panicked, I could see the terror in his eyes," she said. "He was alone." Family was not allowed to visit, and doctors were required to manage an overload of patients at one time. Other doctors said they had tried to revive people while drenched in sweat under their protective gear, face masks fogging up. In a statement given by Joji Thadathil, an Elmhurst Hospital respiratory therapist, she estimated that more staffing and better equipment could have saved 30% to 40% of Covid-19 patients who died there (WSJ). While the cases of Covid-19 have gone down since then, the effects from the virus are far from over. Whether or not there will be future waves of Covid-19 that result in even further damage, there is still a need for financial assistance in Elmhurst Hospital to recover from the toll the corona virus has taken. No one truly knows how the future of Covid-19 will unfold. As we all do our best to prepare for what is to come, we must do our part in assisting our medical workers and hospitals. Elmhurst Hospital Center is in need of our support. Painting for purpose is fundraising campaign founded by artist Avianna McGhee that sells her original art to raise money for EHC.
Painting for Purpose was a fundraiser that took place during the summer of 2020 amidst the Covid-19 lockdown. All proceeds from purchases and donations went to aiding Elmhurst Hospital.