Patients at Bklyn’s Maimonides Hospital “Traumatized” by Poor Medical Care - The Jewish Voice
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Saturday, October 1, 2022

Patients at Bklyn’s Maimonides Hospital “Traumatized” by Poor Medical Care

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As the Jewish Voice has previously reported, Brooklyn’s Maimonides Hospital has been garnering some highly negative ink as of late. The New York Post reported that local elected officials in the Borough Park area have intervened on behalf of constituents who have registered a litany of complaints about the poor medical care delivered to patients as well as subpar service from staff and employees.

Complaints against the hospital include exceedingly long wait times, overwhelmed nurses and staff, and hospital executives who allegedly have failed to effectively manage the system for sorting and attending to numerous kinds of patients.

Earlier this month a letter was sent to Maimonides CEO Kenneth Gibbs, and was signed by State Sen. Simcha Felder, Councilman Kalman Yeger, State Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein, Assemblyman Robert Carroll and Assemblywoman Marcela Mitaynes.  “We have serious concerns about [the] financial well-being of the hospital. We are aware of nurse shortages at the hospital and fear that it is due to financial mismanagement,” reads the letter.  “If this is not corrected, we believe the hospital will lose patients due to poor care and exasperate the hospital’s financial status.”

Now it has been reported by THE CITY that since February of this year, patients at the 700-bed facility and their family members have shared horrible recent experiences at Maimonides.

In an investigative piece for THE CITY, reported Yoav Gonen conducted lengthy and detailed interview with patients and family members at the hospital.

In his July 25th report, Gonen writes about speaking with a number of patients including Judi Mann who addressed issues concerning her infant son, Abraham.

She told Gonen that her son, just 10 days old was released from Maimonides after a doctor attributed his continual vomiting to stomach acid. Prior to being sent home, she told THE CITY that she and her baby spent “about four hours in an emergency department hallway at Maimonides, with little attention.”

Once at home, Mann said that Abraham continued to vomit throughout the night, according to the report in THE CITY.

The report indicates:

“Mann consulted her pediatrician — who told her to urgently head to Mt. Sinai hospital in Manhattan, where Abraham had been born. Doctors there had Abraham in the operating room within 30 minutes, which later confirmed their suspicion that he was suffering from a dangerous condition known as malrotation of the intestines.

“If I had listened to Maimonides, he would not have survived,” said Mann, 25. “The fact that they just sent us home without actually checking him, they didn’t give us the time of day, we barely saw a doctor — it was just a very traumatizing experience,” she told THE CITY.

When asked for comment on this matter, a Maimonides spokesperson declined to make a statement.

As was reported by the Post, in a recent federal government report card, Maimonides received only a 1-star rating out of 5 for patient satisfaction, and 2 out of 5 stars for overall care. The complaints about the hospital escalated in February, when the Post reported that Maimonides was losing tens of millions of dollars while paying Gibbs and five other top executives seven-figure salaries.  From 2019 to 2020, in the peak of the pandemic, Gibbs’ compensation jumped from $1.8 million to $3.2 million, as per financial records filed to the IRS.

Asked to comment in response to the letter, a representative for Maimonides said the claims are “irresponsible” and a part of a “smear campaign.”

“We are outraged by the malicious attack on the efforts of our nurses, doctors, administrators, and staff, which have been nothing short of heroic over the past two years,” said spokesperson, Stephanie Baez.  “The deliberate dissemination of misinformation about and disparagement of the quality of care at Maimonides … does a deep disservice to the communities we serve,” the rep added.  “We call for all community leaders and elected officials to condemn this irresponsible and harmful effort, and we call on those who are driving this campaign to publicly step forward and engage directly with hospital leadership if they have specific proposals for improving the hospital.”

THE CITY reported that documents show “the hospital was able to stay on a reasonable financial footing through the early months of the pandemic — largely because of federal reimbursements — but this was followed by a loss of $60 million in the first half of 2021.”

In the first four months of 2022, the hospital came in $33 million short on its budget, according to records reviewed by THE CITY. Again, hospital officials wouldn’t provide more recent budget information when asked.

THE CITY reported that Ken Gibbs, who was appointed CEO of Maimonides in January 2016, went from a $1.8 million payout in 2019 to $3.2 million in 2020, according to nonprofit tax forms filed with the IRS.

Hospital officials insist this wasn’t a raise or a bonus, but rather compensation that had been deferred to ensure that Gibbs would serve for at least five years — a mark he happened to hit in 2020, when the funds were paid out, according to the report in THE CITY.

In addition to Gibbs collecting a hefty salary during financially difficult times, the Post reported that in addition, a number of high-ranking physicians also were bringing in inflated salaries. They include Jacob Shani, chief of heart surgery, who received $3.5 million; Patrick Borgen, department of surgery, who received $2 million; Greg Ribakove, chair of cardiothoracic surgery who received $1.8 million; Robert Frankel, director of interventional cardiology who received $1.7 million; and Alex Shaknovich, cardiologist, who received $1.7 million, according to records obtained by the Post.

The financial losses have exacerbated staffing shortages, particularly among nurses, that have been a hallmark of the pandemic as Covid waves spread among medical personnel, according to THE CITY.

In February of this year, nurses employed at Maimonides (who also represent the New York State Nurses Association) staged a vehement protest at the hospital venue which called attention to the poor working conditions and the alleged subpar care given to patients.

According to their web site statement, members of the NYSNA said: “the RNs are confronted daily by a hospital overflowing with patients as a result of severe understaffing on L&D and Mother-Baby units, the ER and ICUs, as well as on Med-Surgical floors, Psychiatric and Perioperative care, and others.”

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