$52M field hospital in New York treated only 79 COVID-19 patients

A temporary hospital that opened in April to treat COVID-19 patients in New York City treated only 79 patients during the month it was open, according to The New York Times

The temporary hospital, built at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, had hundreds of beds and dozens of clinicians trained to treat COVID-19 patients. Though nearby hospitals wanted to transfer patients to the facility, they were unable to do so because of red tape, turf battles and communication failures, according to the report. 

The field hospital, which cost $52M, opened with only one or two ventilators and it didn't accept patients with fevers, a symptom of COVID-19. Physicians, some paid as much as $732 an hour, spent most of their time on paperwork instead of treating patients, according to the report. 

"I basically got paid $2,000 a day to sit on my phone and look at Facebook," Katie Capano, a nurse practitioner from Baltimore who worked at the facility, told The New York Times. "We all felt guilty. I felt really ashamed, to be honest."

New York City officials told The Times that the field hospital treated few patients because the virus was curtailed by the city's shelter-in-place order. 

Physicians interviewed by The Times disagreed. 

"The conditions in the emergency room during this crisis were unacceptable and dangerous," Timothy Tan, MD, director of clinical operations at the Queens Hospital Center emergency department, told The Times. "Knowing what our patients had to endure in an overcrowded emergency department, it's frustrating how few patients were treated at facilities such as Billie Jean King." 

Access the full report here

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