Nurses press conference

Marla Diamond/WCBS 880

Nurses Demand Bronx Hospital Address Overcrowding In ER

October 16, 2018 - 10:56 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Nurses at Montefiore Medical Center say overcrowding in the emergency room is a disaster waiting to happen and claim the Bronx hospital is putting profits over patients

They say patients are often packed in emergency room hallways for days at a time and nurses are overwhelmed by the workload.

Nurses, chanting "Patients over profit," were joined Tuesday at an "Enough is Enough" press conference by the State Nurses Association, community leaders and elected officials to demand hospital leadership do something and quick with peak flu season around the corner.

"We have patients in the emergency department waiting sometimes three days for a bed and sometimes their entire admission takes place on a gurney in the hallway," said ER Nurse Judy Sheridan Gonzalez, the president's association.

Bronx City Councilman Ritchie Torres says there's been no serious attempt at solving a problem that has existed for years. He has asked the city's Department of Investigation to look into the situation and also set up a complaint hotline for patients and staff.

"Our message here today is we're not going to stand by passively while Bronx residents are continuing to be degraded in the emergency room and relegated to the status of second class patients," Torres said.

Overcrowding at the hospital was exposed in August by the Daily News. One nurse told the paper that on her busiest day she is treating up to 15 patients in the emergency room at once. That is well over the contracted maximum.

A spokesman for the hospital says the situation is due to local residents using the ER for non-emergencies. The spokesman said their emergency room saw more patients than any other in the city last year and they have added 72 new in-patient beds.

The nurses are highlighting the overcrowding issue as they begin negotiations on a new contract.