If you were ever looking for a prime example as to why the government should never run anything more complicated than the local dog pound, much less the health care system for an entire country, I present to you: Exhibit A.
Behold, the New York government – the same government currently being buried under heaps of praise by the liberal media for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the fact that thousands of elderly New Yorkers in nursing homes died thanks to the government’s policies in the early days of the outbreak.
Now, it’s come out that that same wonderful, benevolent government not only killed countless grandmas across the state, it also spent $52 million to build a field hospital at Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens that only served a grand total of 79 patients in the month it was open, even as other hospitals across the state were overwhelmed.
For those who don’t math, that comes out to about $658,227.85 per patient.
Katie Capano, a nurse practitioner from Baltimore who worked in the facility, said she was embarrassed to have done so little while the pandemic raged through the city.
"I basically got paid $2,000 a day to sit on my phone and look at Facebook,” Capano said. “We all felt guilty. I felt really ashamed, to be honest.”
And believe it or not, it gets worse.
Apparently, the patient numbers weren't low because there were no sick people in the city - in fact, emergency rooms and ICU departments in hospitals across New York City were overwhelmed with COVID patients in the early weeks of the outbreak. But the vast majority of those patients never made it to the facility, a problem that, according to the Washington Examiner, is now being blamed on "bureaucracy and miscommunication."
But doctors at the Billie Jean King facility were banned from taking patients with a fever, despite that being a classic COVID-19 symptom, and were only provided two ventilators, meaning they couldn’t take seriously ill patients.They also couldn’t take patients transported by ambulance, and hospitals were hesitant to send patients to the field hospital because of the loss of revenue.
According to Jackie Bray, an aide to Mayor Bill de Blasio who helped oversee the site, city officials decided after opening the expensive site that COVID patients best treated at existing hospitals, even if they were overcrowded, the New York Times reports.
“The alternative space was less used than we expected it to be because we broke the curve, thank goodness,” Bray said, even as hospitals reported inhumane conditions and extreme difficult in overcrowded ERs.
“We were sitting on all of these beds with hundreds of people trained to watch over patients exactly like that, and these people died,” Elizabeth Ianelli, a social worker at the Billie Jean King site, said. “That was preventable.”
Around the same time, the U.S. Navy deployed the USNS Comfort to New York City to help with the overflow of patients. By the time the ship left, it had treated exactly zero patients.
If you’re looking at those figures and wondering where the $52 million went, it looks like staff paychecks were a big part of it. According to the Washington Examiner, medical staff were paid as much as $732 an hour to work at the facility, even when there were few to no patients to treat.