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NUMC Under The Gun

By Cara Gargano

Screaming in agony, blood gushing all around, and barley being able to move is certainly a nightmare, but to some people, it is reality. There have been many incidents when people in extreme pain have to be rushed to the hospital where they hope they can be seen right away, however that is not always the case.

At Nassau County Medical Center, there have been incidents where people had to wait for over four hours while they sat in agonizing pain. Though they did not wait alone.

Students have described seeing others wait besides them experiencing pain such as a stab wound or even a gunshot wound.

However, Nassau County Medical Center is the closest and most convenient hospital from The University, being that the hospital is only five minutes away. It may be close, but students have always complained of a long wait. Is it worth the long wait? Plus, the hospital is not known for being the most efficient or even sanitary place to go.

The mission of the Nassau Health Care Corporation (NHCC) has three components: patient care, education and research.  However, is the patient receiving the immediate care they need?

"I once went to the hospital with my girlfriend," said sophomore Business Major James Farrell. "We went at one in the morning and had to wait for four hours. The place did not look very sanitary but being that it was so late in the morning, we did not want to be driving aimlessly around Hempstead, especially when my girlfriend was in pain."

"I had to go to the hospital for an elbow x-ray. I signed in and waited for three and a half hours and then I had to wait in another room for another hour and a half," sophomore business major Chris Franks said. "I got to the hospital at 4:30 p.m. and they did not tell me how long I would have to wait, but I never thought I'd have to wait for over five hours. Once I was seen I was satisfied with the treatment that I received, but while I was waiting I saw a man who was shot in the foot who also had to wait to be seen."

"Recently, I was playing basketball with my friends and I accidentally got elbowed in the face. Turns out the cut was so bad I had to go to the hospital to get stitches. I went to the Nassau County Medical Center and I ended up having to wait for four hours before I was seen," sophomore broadcast journalism major Frank Caleca said. "I had to get five to seven stitches in my face and in the meantime while I was there my mom had fainted because she thought I was severely hurt. So they had to put her on a stretcher and bring her to a room as well."

Not everyone experiences "the horrors" when they go to the hospital, they are a few that go into the hospital without any wait or hassles. They are the ones that are considered "lucky."

"I went to the Nassau Hospital twice, junior Video/Film Major Shane McGonnigal said. "My most recent experience I went not for myself, but because I was helping a friend of mine who had alcohol poisoning. We surprisingly did not have to wait at all. Once we got there, they took her right away and they treated her for about two hours. The hospital looked sanitary to me, but then again I was only in the waiting room. And my friend was fine so my hospital experience was not at all bad."

"My roommate just went to the hospital because she had a 48 hour virus. It didn't seem busy at all and it was clean, but I don't know, the nurses didn't really care that my roommate could barely stand," public relations major Lindsay Brandt said. "Once the Triage Nurse called her name she realized how sick she was and let us sit in the triage room until she was called rather than the waiting room. She was so sick she actually had to stay overnight for two nights. She was not satisfied with the treatment she received because the nurses weren't helpful-they didn't even tell her what was wrong with her. They then kept her there a second night without any medication or an IV in her, and constantly brought in groups of student doctors to observe her all day. One of the nurses was really obnoxious and constantly sarcastic; she thought they just kept her there to rack up her bill."

There are not just nurses and doctors that take care of patients, there are students too. The Nassau County Medical Center is affiliated with the Health Sciences Center of the State University of New York at Stony Brook and Lenox Hill Hospital and has been for over 65 years. Currently it has a staff of approximately 3,500 and treats more than 82,000 persons annually in the Nassau University Medical Center Emergency Department.

"Students kept coming in and out of her room to see what was wrong with her," Brandt said. "It made her feel really uncomfortable."

Though many have had to wait long hours to be seen, they were all eventually seen and overall satisfied with the treatment they received.  So is it worth the five-minute drive for a four-hour wait?  Some think it is, while others will search for alternatives. "I would go to the Nassau Hospital if I had an emergency because I haven't had a bad experience there," said McGonnigal. "I hope that I never have a bad experience when I get to the hospital because I'll obviously be in pain before I go so I would want to be seen right away to fell better."

"It is not clear how many Univeristy students come into the hospital because there are many ways one can enter the hospital. They could come as a patient of the emergency room, as an out patient clinic, or for family planning. When students come in to the hospital they are not asked if they are students, we ask age and insurance but not if they are students," Shelley Lotenberg, Director of Public Affairs and the Spokesperson for the Nassau University Medical Center said.

"I would not go to the Nassau Hospital if I was sick, I would rather go all the way near my house to Huntington Hospital, even if it is 20 minutes away," Brandt said. There are 18 different hospitals in Nassau County and four of them are located in the town of Hempstead.

The Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow is overwhelmed with the large number or patients and their under-staffing issues. (Harry Tanielyan/The Chronicle)

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