Letter to the Editor: “NYU Must Compensate Its Medical Workers Fairly”

Kenneth G. Langone, Robert I. Grossman, Steven B. Abramson, Robert J. Cerfolio, Fritz François, Joseph Greco, and Bret J. Rudy

It is deeply disappointing that an “opinion piece” by one of your own editors was allowed to publish despite numerous factual inaccuracies.  

 Of greatest concern is that the piece makes erroneous and unsubstantiated claims that were not fact checked with reliable sources. Most disturbing are the accusations that NYU Langone staff have not been provided with life-saving personal protective equipment (PPE) during their treatment of Covid-19 patients, and that they are inadequately compensated for the work they performed. Neither statement is accurate. To be clear: 

  • At no point did we deny our staff appropriate PPE required for their protection – and for the protection of their patients. To suggest that our institution knowingly put our staff in harm’s way is simply not true. Like all hospitals, we have been careful to conserve PPE to ensure we will have enough to get us through this crisis. But never did an NYU Langone staff member perform tasks with inadequate or inappropriate PPE. We adhered to the CDC guidelines at all times.
  • Every single patient who entered an NYU Langone in need of ventilator support received it.  No patient was denied the essential care they needed.
  • Despite stopping all “non-emergent” surgeries and nonessential care, we still managed to pay everyone. Unlike other institutions in the city and throughout the country, none of our employees have been furloughed or fired. Our goal continues to be to protect all of our staff. 
  • We believe that our entire community contributes to this enormous effort – to single out one group for monetary rewards is naïve and lacks any understanding of how hospitals deliver care.

Traditionally, “opinion pieces” are offered by independent third parties or those not affiliated with the media organization publishing it. That was not the case here. This is an editorial, plain and simple, written by one of your own editors. We interpret its content as the opinion of WSN. Hiding behind a non-endorsement disclaimer does not distance the paper from its responsibilities for the piece.  To call it anything else would be disingenuous and dishonest to your readers. 

We believe this “opinion piece” ironically is “FAKE NEWS” and an egregious misrepresentation that actually harms the efforts of heroic individuals working tirelessly to care for our patients. Absent your ability to confirm the accusations in the editorial, we call for a full retraction. In the face of this national crisis, to publish false claims is unconscionable and the WSN, and all those associated with it, should be ashamed. 

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Kenneth G. Langone

Chairmen of the Board of Trustees, NYU Langone Health

Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees, NYU

 

Robert I. Grossman, MD

Dean and CEO, NYU Langone Health

 

Steven B. Abramson, MD

Executive Vice President and Vice Dean for Education, Faculty, and Academic Affairs

NYU Langone Health

 

Robert J. Cerfolio, MD, MBA

Executive Vice President and Vice Dean, Chief of Hospital Operations

NYU Langone Health

 

Fritz François, MD, MSc, FACG

Chief Medical Officer

Professor, Department of Medicine

NYU Langone Health

 

Joseph Greco, MD

Senior Vice President and Chief of Hospital Operations

NYU Winthrop

 

Bret J. Rudy, MD

Senior Vice President and Chief of Hospital Operations

NYU Langone Hospital–Brooklyn

 

Cc: Members of the NYU Board of Trustees

Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Apr. 20, 2020 e-print edition. Email Kenneth G. Langone, Robert I. Grossman, Steven B. Abramson, Robert J. Cerfolio, Fritz François, Joseph Greco and Bret J. Rudy at [email protected]

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72 COMMENTS

  1. I Costas Bizekis MD from day one have been provided with all the proper PPEs. I am part of a team that has performed almost 250 bronchoscopies on Covid ICU patients and have never been without proper PPEs. No patient was ever denied a ventilator. We have been very aggressive in treating each and every patient with full support of the administration.
    Additionally I have witnessed Dr. Cerfolio make daily rounds in the ICUs and ask all the staff if and what they needed. Never was a request denied. I have also been tested multiple times (testing negative).
    Having witnessed another Hospital, NYU Langone has been organized and effective. I would be more than happy to speak to whomever you see fit to tell the real story.
    Regards
    Costas Bizekis MD

  2. This is truly disappointing to me to hear that it’s being reported that we have no ppe. This is simply just NOT TRUE! My team and I consisting of Dr Bizekis, Dr Jiang, Dr Geraci as well as others now on ICU rotation Dr Williams and Dr Chen have been on the Covid floors since the crisis started. We perform many procedures including super spreading procedures like intubations, bronchoscopies(close to 200 now) chest tubes and tracheostomies. We have never had an issue with obtaining PPE on any of the floors. We have also tested negative weekly twice now. This in my opinion is a credit to education,safe techniques and quality PPE.
    This statement that we don’t have what we need is not true and is coming from someone who has not been on the front lines in the ICU’s with us and knows what is and isn’t available.
    My observation from being involved early on is that staff are becoming increasingly comfortable with the care of these patients because they have take care of these patients now for sometime without getting sick. I include myself and my team in that group. This is because we have the appropriate PPE to combat this disease.

  3. To the editor:
    I would like to write to express my disappointment in the article entitled “NYU Must Compensate Its Medical Workers Fairly,” published on April 17th.
    I am surprised to see such a letter in print and would call for its redaction. My experience at NYU Winthrop is that providers have never been asked to work without sufficient PPE including gowns or n95 masks. We have taken great care to support our staff throughout this crisis.
    We have been able to support our patients during this crisis, including making beds and ventilators available to all patients that needed them.
    We have created a support network of providers to help those in need of counseling and support services, to ensure that all of our staff that are in need of help are able to access it.
    I would ask that the facts be checked prior to publishing such an article, and as a faculty at this institution am saddened to see it in print.

    Nicole Adler, MD FACP FHM
    Associate CMO NYU Winthrop Hospital
    Assistant Professor of Medicine, NYU Grossman School of Medicine
    NYU Langone Health

  4. To the Editor,

    Response Re: “NYU Must Compensate Its Medical Workers Fairly” (April 17):

    As Chief Hospital Epidemiologist of the NYU Langone Health System, I can emphatically state that we have worked tirelessly to ensure all our healthcare workers have the personal protective equipment (PPE) they need during this public health crisis. Our PPE standards are in line with the CDC guidance released during the pandemic and are in place to ensure we don’t run of these critical supplies in the weeks to come. Although there is much we don’t know about Covid-19, our response has always placed the safety of our team first.

    Michael

    Michael Phillips MD
    Chief Hospital Epidemiologist
    NYU Langone Health System
    Associate Director for Clinical Services
    Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology
    NYU Grossman School of Medicine

    • The CDC guidance has been to reuse PPE which we all know is improper. To be honest, I don’t think NYU has been any worse than any other hospital, but to use the CDC guidelines as evidence that you have provided adequate PPE is to admit that you have been providing inadequate PPE.

    • The cdc has published guidelines which even include using bandannas and tshirts during PPE shortage and reuse of PPE, unfortunately to cover hospitals from liability, but not because it is safe and ideal to do so. Do not even use the phrase per CDC guidelines because it is just offensive at this point.

  5. I am the medical director of the first floor in Kimmel Pavilion to become a COVID ICU after the medical ICU was full. We have always had and still have appropriate PPE for ALL staff.

    I should know; I personally hand out masks to staff when the nurse manager is not in her office and did so about a dozen times yesterday for new nurses and respiratory therapists brought in the help us fight COVID 19 or those who needed new masks because theirs were soiled or damaged.

    Our tracheostomy and bronchoscopy teams have completed hundreds of procedures and bc we have given them appropriate PPE they are all still healthy and hard at work!

    EVERY day I see staff bringing in a massive cart of gowns and masks to restock our floor and make sure to tell my whole medical team to look and see what NYU is doing for us. If there was a way to post photos on this thing I would upload it!!

  6. To the Editor,

    Response Re: “NYU Must Compensate Its Medical Workers Fairly” (April 17):

    It is deeply disturbing to read such criticism of NYU Langone during this pandemic. The editor was clearly provided false and misleading information. As a member of the hospital leadership team at the Brooklyn campus, I can attest to daily rounding across all the units, engaging front line staff in discussions around their experiences, staffing, PPE, equipment and needs. We feared that misleading media reports regarding PPE shortages may alarm our staff and for this reason tried to alleviate any concerns by letting staff know that we were in fact receiving shipments daily. We reinforced the importance of PPE conservation during this pandemic and provided clear guidelines around its use. Despite the influx of very sick patients in a short period of time and our expansion of Intensive Care Units (ICUs) at record speed, we never lost sight of the value of our staff, both clinical and non-clinical, and remain grateful to them all for their heroic efforts.

    Paulina

    Paulina Koudellou
    Vice President, Hospital Operations
    Women and Children’s Services
    Anesthesiology

    NYU Langone Health
    NYU Langone Hospital – Brooklyn
    150 55th Street, Suite 3-03
    Brooklyn, NY 11220

  7. To the Editor:

    Re: Letter to the Editor: “NYU Must Compensate Its Medical Workers Fairly.”

    I must echo my colleagues’ disappointment with the WSN article published last Friday. It inaccurately represented the issues faced and response by NYU Langone Health.

    Great efforts have been made to ensure that all staff have the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) during the treatment of Covid-19 patients. PPE conservation is a national issue and NYU Langone Health has addressed strategies early on in this pandemic to create a safe environment for patients and staff in accord with the CDC. The system continues to maintain adequate supplies and has engaged methods of creating safe reserves should they be necessary.

    NYU Langone Health has maintained an adequate number of ventilators to address patients’ needs. Ongoing efforts by leadership has safely ensured this.
    Our entire healthcare community is dedicated to patient care during both good and difficult times. The contributions everyone provides as a team benefits our patients and results in us getting through this.

    Marc Adler, MD, MBA, FACP, FHCQM
    Chief Medical Officer
    NYU Winthrop Hospital

  8. The article does not claim that NYU workers are not provided with PPE. Attacking a student writer for your own inability to properly parse information is the height of unprofessionalism. In light of the false accusations made in this article, which directly, and on false grounds, call into question the integrity of both WSN and its editors, this piece should be retracted and an administrative apology should be forthcoming.

  9. To the Editor,

    Response Re: “NYU Must Compensate Its Medical Workers Fairly” (April 17):

    As the Director of the NYU Langone Hospitalist Program, I am in charge of a team of more than 40 physicians who have been working tirelessly on the front-line during this COVID epidemic.

    I want to set the record straight.

    I speak for my team that we have never – not once – been asked to care for a patient without appropriate personal protective equipment. Quite the contrary, NYU Langone Health has gone out of its way to ensure that we maintain the highest degree of safety. To assert otherwise, is simply not true.

    Katherine Ardalan Hochman, MD, FHM
    Associate Professor of Medicine
    Associate Chair for Quality, Department of Medicine
    Assistant Chief of Medicine, Tisch Hospital
    Director, NYU Langone Hospital Medicine
    NYU Langone Medical Center

  10. Running a hospital presents many challenges, but nothing has been more challenging than what we are facing today with Covid-19. Our hospital ensures that every staff member has appropriate PPE, and I personally have not heard of one scenario where someone did not have protective gear. We keep in very close communication with our front-line clinical leaders, specifically to make sure everyone is safe and has the protective equipment and tools to provide excellent patient care.

    With a world-class health system, comes a world-class response. I am extremely proud of NYU Langone Health’s response to this pandemic, and our resilience has never been stronger.

    Jordan

    Jordan A. Solop, MBA, FACHE
    Vice President, Hospital Operations
    NYU Langone Hospital – Brooklyn
    NYU Langone Health

  11. As Dean of the NYU Long Island School of Medicine, the sister medical school of Grossman School of Medicine, under New York University, I am very disturbed by the factually incorrect and misleading editorial published on Friday in your newspaper. Overseeing the medical student and Graduate Medical education program at this medical school at NYU Winthrop Hospital campus of NYU Langone Health, I have an intimate knowledge of the clinical and educational activities taking place at our medical center. The acts of clinical care being exercised by all of our caring health professionals at all levels are exemplary 24/7, and your accusation that they have been improperly provided appropriate PPE is simply not true. In addition, the accusation that the residents have not been fairly compensated for their extraordinary efforts is equally false.

    In this current COVID 19 crisis, this medical center is indeed facing challenges on a number of different fronts. Suitable numbers of health providers have often been limited, and the continued increasing degree of illness in our admitted patients have required extra efforts by all individuals at all levels. The Administrative and clinical leadership at NYU Long Island School of Medicine, NYU Langone Health System, and NYU Winthrop Hospital have responded to all of the challenges with the determination to provide the best care to all patients seen, and to be sure that all providers, including residents and nurses, are provided all the PPE required to keep them safe, healthy, and out of harms way as they provide the necessary care. In my ongoing discussions with resident leaders, chief residents and those at all levels, I am constantly re-assured that this is the case.

    I have also personally been responsible for placing 22 new, early graduated students into the clinical setting, and in our conversation several days ago, they re-assured me that they absolutely have sufficient PPE to complete the tasks they have been given responsibility for.

    In addition to this provision of PPE for safe and complete care, the leadership of NYU Langone Health system, of which NYU Winthrop Hospital is a pivotal campus, have committed to increase the compensation for all participating residents in their enormously important work caring for COVID 19 patients. Other benefits have been offered as well, including providing hotel reimbursement to those not already being provided housing, additional counseling support, childcare support where necessary and expansion of many benefits to assist with resident needs during this difficult time.

    In surveys and conversations with Medical Schools across the country led by the American Association of Medical Colleges, our house staff, students and faculty have received the same, if not more benefits than most other medical schools, and the overwhelming majority, including those states being hit critically hard by this crisis as well, have not offered “hazard pay” as referenced in the article. We are overwhelmingly proud of our house staff who are providing care as bound by the Hippocratic Oath during these extremely trying times and of our faculty who lead by example, many of whom are fulfilling roles outside of their traditional disciplines to support the care of these patients without expectation of additional opportunistic monetary gains, and at the risk of sacrificing their regular practices and revenue generating work.

    As a Pediatrician for over 40 years with many years overseeing Medical Student and Resident education, I am enormously impressed with the responsiveness and caring attitude of leadership here to our most valued providers. In my numerous conversations with Deans of medical Schools across the country, and especially throughout New York State, they reflect on their respect and admiration for the efforts of NYU Langone leaders in providing the best support for their resident physicians. I share the dismay being expressed by my leadership colleagues to this factually incorrect and seriously misleading editorial, and urge that there be a retraction immediately. This misinformation is both damaging to the efforts of everyone during this crisis and detracts from the truly appreciative response that should be forthcoming every day for the leadership required to rise to successfully challenge and overcome the enormous obstacles this Covid19 crisis presents.

  12. To the Editor:
    I strongly take issue with the inaccuracies in the above opinion piece. I am the Vice President for Quality at NYU Winthrop Hospital. In that capacity my administrative oversight responsibilities include the Infection Prevention and Quality Departments.

    The assertion that we are lacking necessary protective equipment, staff and ventilators is false. Our leadership team has worked tirelessly to ensure the safety of our staff and patients through strategic planning to accommodate a surge in infectious patients, careful review of staffing and through provision of necessary personal protective equipment.
    To further support safety during this crisis the Quality Department and other departments have re-deployed staff to work as Safety Monitors around the clock on patient care units to provide coaching and assistance on the proper use of PPE, and serve as a resource to answer questions for caregivers during this challenging time. This program has been rolled out across the organization at all campuses. The goal of the program is to ensure the safety of all staff entering any location designated as a respiratory isolation zone. This is in addition to a team of highly qualified Infection Preventionists who are continually working with the front line to reinforce infection prevention strategies including proper use of personal protective equipment.
    It is disappointing that the WSN did not clarify the facts prior to publication.

    Ranekka Dean, PhD RN CIC FAPIC
    Director, Infection Prevention
    NYU Langone Health
    NYU Winthrop Hospital

    Patricia McAndrews RN
    Director, Quality Management
    NYU Langone Health
    NYU Winthrop Hospital

    Monica Santoro MS, RN
    Vice President, Quality
    NYU Langone Health
    NYU Winthrop Hospital

    • Yes I’m sure you’re extremely disappointed about a undergraduate student editorial damaging your personal reputation. Are you a big WSN reader or was this a coordinated response as these cookie-cutter comments seem to suggest.

  13. To the Editor:

    I am a manager in our Quality Management Department at NYU Winthrop and I am also spending some of my time on the units as a Safety Monitor. We receive daily updates and education on PPE and all happenings related to fighting the Covid-19 crisis. Part of my role as a safety monitor is to ensure that staff is properly using the PPE as intended. While we are conserving PPE by reusing as appropriate, I can speak to the fact that staff has everything they need to care for patients. I also help to stock the unit that I am on, and they absolutely have what they need.

    I feel so proud to work for NYU Winthrop and for our response to this crisis. I am disappointed to read the negative article in the Washington Square News. I do not have knowledge of the other items that the author discussed, but it seems like a very negatively biased opinion.

    Kristin Vinson MSN, NP-C
    Manager, Quality Management
    NYU Langone Health
    NYU Winthrop Hospital

  14. To the Editor:
    As the Interim Vice President for Nursing at NYU Langone Hospital Brooklyn I have been at the front line from day one, side by side with our nurses and nursing staff. We have made sure that all of our staff are provided with the proper PPE consistently throughout, every shift and every day and night.

    It is important to note that the safety of our patients and our staff here at NYU are our first and most important priority always! Period. I am personally, as the VP for nursing, extremely disappointed and saddened, that the HEROIC efforts of our entire organization can be tainted by unsubstantiated and irresponsible reporting. I have never been more proud to be an NYU Langone Health nurse!!

    Jose M. Hernandez, MS, BS, RN
    Interim Vice President, Nursing and Patient Care Services
    Vice President, Perioperative Services
    NYU Langone Hospital, Brooklyn

  15. This is a quite a coordinated response in the comment section.

    It would be believable that NYU Langone always had PPE for every front line worker except everyone has seen or donated to a front line worker’s fundraiser for PPE. Believing all these comments of always having enough PPE goes against all common sense. MD’s, RN’s, RT’s, and every acronym named healthcare worker would not ask for donations and alternative sources of masks, gowns, etc. if hospitals did not force them to.

    Granted, this failure is not NYU Langone’s alone, but every medical center. As a country, we were caught unprepared.

    Admitting a failure is hard and consequences are surely to follow. However, denying a failure misses an opportunity to find its root cause and prevent future failures, builds distrust towards leadership, and most importantly slaps the face of every person putting their life on the line.

    P.S. Following CDC guidelines is nothing to brag about as early guidelines put healthcare workers at risk of infection from COVID.
    – Singling out one group for monetary rewards is nonsensical, yet hospital administrators are disproportionately rewarded regardless.

    • Agreed. Honestly the administrators coordinated attack in this comment section is appalling. I also think the fact that it is all administrators and attendings saying this is false rather than house staff speaks volumes. At my own program my program director and administration denied PPE shortages as untrue rumors similarly until one of the APDs finally stood up to him and admitted what was happening.
      The administrators who signed this and who have commented in this section should be ashamed of themselves.
      Learn to care about your residents instead of your appearance.

    • 100% agreed. I’m going to trust the residents and attendings down the totem pole versus administrators. Also, why do all these comments read like they were modified from a template?

    • Absolutely agree. It’s downright appalling that this many “senior leaders” across our healthcare system had the time and lack of better things to do to each sit down and write these coordinated propaganda letters. What kind of institution in the midst of the biggest healthcare crisis in a century has the time and inclination to direct so many of its leaders and administrators to cyber bully a college student op-ed in a student newspaper?
      Things I learned:
      – none of them felt safe enough to just not do this when ordered to do so
      – none of them apparently are busy enough to not down-triage this task to the absolute bottom of their to do list
      – none of them were wise enough to think – this might be an over-reaction and make us look worse when 60+ of us write these banal dear leader praise the NYU letters?

      NYU has generally handled this situation well, although their response to the resident’s tiny request for hazard pay and disability coverage was deplorable, and their protestations of billion dollar losses were nonsensical (whats another million? when your CEO makes 6.5?), but this is pretty low to attack a student newspaper op-ed. Come on.

  16. To the Editor:

    I read with dismay the opinion piece by Asha Ramachandran published on April 17 entitled, “NYU Must Compensate its Medical Workers Fairly”. At NYU Winthrop Hospital on Long Island, my department is home to 85 residents and 64 fellows, all of whom have performed with the highest degree of professionalism during the COVID-19 pandemic, consistent with their oath as physicians. As faculty, we do not think of residents as the “lowest position in the physician hierarchy” but rather consider them as junior colleagues for whom we carry a sacred responsibility to teach and protect from harm – also consistent with our oath and traditions as physicians. The working conditions and treatment of our residents as characterized by Ms. Ramachandran do not in any way reflect the reality of the experience at NYU Winthrop.

    To physicians of my generation, training as residents and fellows at the dawn of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in New York City in the early 1980s defined a standard of clinical care, compassion and scientific inquiry, imparted by our teachers, which formed us as physicians and resulted in the understanding and control of the disease during our own careers. The COVID-19 pandemic is this generation’s defining moment. Our younger colleagues are rising to the occasion brilliantly. Their intelligence, energy and compassion will bring us to a greater understanding and ultimate control of this terrible disease of our time.

    Bruce Polsky, MD
    Professor and Chairman, Department of Medicine
    Associate Dean, Faculty
    NYU Long Island School of Medicine
    NYU Winthrop Hospital

  17. To the Editor,

    Response Re: “NYU Must Compensate Its Medical Workers Fairly” (April 17):

    I am disappointed to read the inaccurate information listed in this opinion piece. I have been part of the airway team (tracheostomy, bronchoscopy) at NYU Langone since the beginning of the COVID19 crisis and have performed these airway procedures across our Manhattan and Brooklyn campuses.
    I along with my co-team members have had all PPE we need to safely perform our procedures including (N95 masks, face shields, caps, gowns and gloves) on all units without any issues.
    I am honored to be part of a distinguished group of healthcare providers and administrators at NYU Langone Health to serve the need of our patients and our community during these times of unprecedented crisis.

    Samaan Rafeq, MD, FCCP

    Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine and Cardiothoracic Surgery

    New York University School of Medicine

    Associate Director, Interventional Pulmonology Section

    Director, Interventional Pulmonary Fellowship

    NYU Langone Health

  18. To the Editor,
    I was extremely disappointed to see your Opinion piece titled “NYU Must Compensate Its Medical Workers Fairly.”

    First, as a long term employee of NYU Langone Health, I found it very distressing that voices within our own ‘family’ would take such a distrustful and combative tone. Since the beginning of the COVID epidemic, the biggest strength at NYU Langone Health has been our cohesion. People have come together as one unified team more than anyone could have possibly hoped. As a few examples, at NYU-Brooklyn we have Orthopedic surgeons screening COVID patients in our ED screening center, and ED PAs working as inpatient providers on COVID wards. We have OR nurses doing ED triage, and subspecialty physicians of all stripes calling families to let them know how their loved ones are doing. That an undergraduate with no experience in our house would cast such negative assertions upon us during a crisis, is truly disappointing.

    Second, we have PPE. We have the right PPE. We have enough PPE. The same can be said of ventilators, staff, and most other supplies. Are there supply chain concerns? Absolutely. Have some individual staff members taken it upon themselves to raise funds to help ensure we never run out of that which we need? Yes. But most importantly, our supply chain team has been working 24/7 to ensure our front lines have everything they need, and we are overcoming these challenges, together. The idea that ANYTHING comes before the safety of our staff and patients is frankly shocking.

    Third, the issue of hazard pay is a complex one. I don’t pretend to have all the right answers, but I do contend that Ms Ramachandran has neither the expertise nor the context to advocate in good faith. NYU Langone, and most every medical center in New York, has suddenly seen a huge financial shock. Our medical center has taken the appropriate stance that care comes first, and finances will have to follow. We have been spending money to keep our team well equipped and safe and rapidly evolve our facilities to care for hundreds of COVID patients. This is all happening when many significant revenue sources have ceased. Never has there been a question of whether to do these things or whether such spending would be made. The message has been spend what needs to be spent to care for every patient as if he or she was your own family member. In focusing on a hazard pay stipend, I fear Ms Ramachandran has missed the forest for the trees.

    Our employees have worked tirelessly day and night to fight COVID and keep NYC safe.

    We deserve better than this story.

    Ian Wittman, MD
    Chief of Service, NYU Langone Health – Brooklyn
    Ronald O Perelman Department of Emergency Medicine

  19. The original article is excellent! I hope the editor keeps speaking truth to poser and exposing the lack of support for our essential workers. Fully support the original article!

  20. I am writing in response to your editorial piece that was published on April 17 entitled “NYU Must Compensate Its Medical Workers Fairly”. I have always understood that editorials should reflect the journalistic integrity of a paper and should be based on accurate portrayals of a given situation. In this particular instance, the tone and content of the editorial fail to respect the mission and sacrifice of thousands of staff who work at NYU Langone Health. Having seen firsthand the passion and bravery with which our teams take care of patients, it is disrespectful to suggest that the primary driver for their work is monetary. Heroes are not inspired to act because they are paid a certain amount of money. The heroes who work at NYU Langone do what they do because every one of them is an exceptional individual who believes in caring for their fellow human beings and for the New York community at large. The incredible care that they provide to patients, Covid or otherwise, deserves better than what the article afforded them.

    Ilseung Cho, MD MSc
    Chief Quality Officer, NYU Langone Health
    Associate Professor of Medicine, NYU Grossman School of Medicine

    • I guess you’ve been working 80 hour weeks for 60-70k? Since money is so evil and you clearly think so highly of yourself, you and all your administration colleagues you should work for free, right?

  21. It’s funny – you don’t see many residents lining up to support NYU in the comments section. I wonder why that is?

  22. ^ The residents, fellows, and attending physicians are all working and actively taking care of patients, while the hospital administrators pen defensive essays in the comments section of a college newspaper! Go figure.

  23. I’ve worked with some of these letter writers on days we didn’t have gowns or masks that fit me and my resident and nursing colleagues just as recently as last week. Curious they all seemed to forget at once. Especially curious that a student newspaper is where they choose to respond and not the various larger outlets that have been reporting on this.

  24. I find strangely ironic that NYU Langone has a strict media policy, that we have been frequently reminded of during the pandemic

    “Please remember that permission is required to speak to the press, on behalf of the institution. This includes media interviews, filming, videotaping or photography. If you have any concerns please reach out to your leadership” is a frequent tag line in many department-wide communications. Yet, dozens of executives and middle managers at NYU suddenly feel it’s okay to publish their opinions on the NYU student newspaper. This article illustrates how far NYU leadership has gone in trying to cover up their failure to protect front line staff during the beginning of this pandemic. I wonder what it must feel like to be an accomplished professional who has become so entrenched into the bureaucracy of an institution that you are willing to look away from the truth in order to protect your paychecks. What does it feel like to trade your dignity and betray the realities of front line Attendings, residents, nurses, techs and PAs who struggled to get the proper guidance regarding appropriate PPE? As managers who are now more interested in protecting your personal livelihoods and inherently understand that it is your job to tow the line of your money hungry institution, you rationalize your behavior in whatever distorted ways that allow you to sleep at night. Fortunately for us, the light of truth is inescapable. In the coming months more of your failures, greed and deceit will be exposed because it has been well-documented.

  25. Dear Ms. Ramachandran,

    THANK YOU for advocating for us! We have had instances where we had less than appropriate PPE and as a result have received donations from family/friends/business for N95 masks, face shields, and gowns. In addition, hospitals being in compliance with “CDC guidelines” means guidelines were adapted to conserve resources, not necessarily the appropriate methods for protecting healthcare workers. In addition, numerous frontline residents and nurses have become ill with COVID-19. Residents and nurses are in fact the FRONTLINE, we are the ones holding the hands of patients and trying to mitigate the fear in their eyes. We’re using our cellphones so our patient’s can FaceTime their loved ones to say goodbye. Administrators of hospital departments/units/floors do not have nearly the amount of exposure that we do. Our drive for what we do, will always be our patients. If you asked any of us the question, “would you run into the room of a crashing patient if there was no PPE available?” The answer would always be yes. Our drive for what we do, will always be our patients. However, we should never be put in the the situation where we have to decide between saving ourselves/exposing our families vs. saving a patient’s life.

    I’m sorry that our colleagues have decided to take a student newspaper as the platform to defend themselves and in turn bully an undergraduate student when many larger news outlets have been reporting on the same issues. Although the issues off PPE and hazard pay are larger than any institution it is NYU’s coordinated response to your opinion piece with threatening rhetoric that is truly disappointing. Please know you have allies and a community that supports you, your curiosity and investigation, and your plans for the future!

    Keep your head up high and keep doing what you’re doing!

  26. The NYU faculty comments below this piece scream DEAR LEADER in a tone North Korea would find embarrassing.

    Shame on the institution’s leaders and every physician commenting on this piece for using their bully pulpit to silence residents and nurses. You undermine the institution by creating a hostile and threatening environment.

    • 100% agree that this is contributing to a hostile and threatening environment. If this is the administration’s response to criticism, no wonder housestaff aren’t jumping to their defense.

  27. I want to convey my full throated support to the author of the original OP-ED writer. It is pathetic that administrators are trying to silence students advocating for residents. It is deeply amusing that these administrators have the time to write these disingenuous comments while the residents, the true workforce of the hospital, are working nonstop.

    I applaud you, Ms. Ramchandran! You are an excellent writer and we deeply appreciate you speaking out for us. NYU langone’s administrators are embarrassments who make me ashamed to be in the medical profession. I urge this publication to emphatically NOT issue any retraction of a factually correct article.

  28. What an incredible response from a group of hospital administrators attacking a college student in a student newspaper.

    What thin skin they must have.

    As a practicing physician myself, I think that the NYU Board should move on to more important endeavors — like saving lives.

  29. Going through the majority of these comments – it is easy to tell that NYU has coordinated an attack from its admin.
    I mean I can’t blame them, very tempting to sell out when you’re expected to work 20 hours a week and make high six figures at the safety and comfort of your offices and leech off the real frontline medical staff that are risking their lives day in and day out. I have yet to read any residents/nurse/RT/CNA/environmental service/ WHO ARE actually on the frontlines commenting on how well NYU set them up for success during this pandemic.

  30. I am a resident at NYU Winthrop. To Ms. Ramachandran: thank you for advocating for us. I’m glad that our efforts are being recognized by someone and that you have had the ability to reach our administration when we have not. Our concerns were brought to the attention of the administration at multiple points during this pandemic and during multiple points we were told to “hang tight” and “it’s not becoming of a compassionate physician” to be requesting so and so at this time.

    I’d like to clarify that while it is true that we have always had PPE, I would also like to point out how many times I have been reprimanded for needing a new n95 after using the same one for a week, or after being in a super spreader event and then requesting a new n95. The sheer number of residents who contracted the infection could be a marker for how adequate the PPE is. I’d also like to point out that on my very few and far between days off since this pandemic started, I have been reaching out to the community asking for donations of face masks and gowns. So while we do have “adequate PPE” the house staff will have to respectfully take some credit for having taken that responsibility into our own hands. I’d also like to stop and thank the community and Long Island for their support and PPE donations. We are in your debt and everything we do is for you. The support from the community has been overwhelming from PPE donations to food during our shifts to visits from the local fire departments- THANK YOU. Whereas NYU has billions of dollars to spend on rebranding purple, the financially struggling community on Long Island has continually been showing the greatest support. It has been an honor to be caring for such a loving community.

    Just to clarify for anyone here reading what it’s been like since COVID started for the residents since its very clear many of the physicians here have been sit-ing safe in their ivory towers and haven’t set foot in the building in a while: all of our elective and ambulatory time have been taken away from us. There are no educational activities, no noon conference, morning report, lectures. We’ve all been working 12 hour long ICUs, floor, and night shifts, averaging 70+ hours a week. We’re constantly switching every week from nights to days which after 3 months takes a toll on your body and emotional well being. I’ve had to call more families with news their loved ones have died in the past month alone then I’ve had to do in my whole residency career. And there’s no breaks- you make a call and then you go back to work with tears still running down your face behind your eye shield and face mask. The support from administration so far has been emails about “buddy checks” and free webex yoga classes that none of us have the time to participate in. Despite all this, the strength, kindness, brilliance, ingenuity, selflessness, and professionalism of my coresidents is inspiring. The support that has been lacking from administration has been found amongst ourselves. God forbid if any of my loved ones fell ill, I would bring them to any of my cresidents for care in a heart beat. I hope after we graduate from residency and one day take on the roles that the current administration has that during the next pandemic we are able to learn from this experience and handle it better.

    • Thank you for all residents and house staff. You guys deserve hazard (back) pay. Maybe NYU can dip into the $73 million in bailout funds they (reportedly) received from the Federal government. You know, once Dean Grossmans millions are distributed, of course.

  31. Look at all of these directors and heads of programs responding. They are not the ones who are being underpaid and undervalued. Buddy Check’s post shows that residents are having to constantly ask for new PPE when they feel their current PPE is unsuitable, only to be reprimanded. That’s a hostile work environment and staff actively trying to dissuade people from using the proper protection.

    Also, all residents feel they cannot report true working conditions and hours because accreditation could be targeted losing their residency spots. I hope that they now will, because it surely goes above guidelines of 80 hours/week. NYU pays less than the other Manhattan programs.

    Your response is disgusting, screaming fake news like a toddler without actually addressing the complaints. Residents are being treated as meat shields, are dying, and for what? Your bottom line?

    • Langone is a Trump donor/sycophant, so of course he’s gonna pull out the “FAKE NEWS!” card in all caps like the toddler-in-chief on a student-run newspaper op-ed.

  32. There’s a whole ton of wealthy, older individuals in positions of power whining and crying in both the article and comments. Where are the resident physicians? Where are the nurses?

    That is how you know you hit the nail on the head.

  33. Very interesting that they skirted the issue of hazard pay when their board, including Dean Grossman earns > $1,000,000 for doing nonclinical non-frontline work. It must feel so righteous, sitting at home typing up a hostile letter to attack a college student who is speaking the truth that the NYU board is forbidding their employees to do so. I dont know how Grossman justifies his $5,800,000 salary. The board should reduce their salary and reallocate the funds to hazard pay for frontline workers. Look up the UMass CEO who gave up his salary and is actively seeing patients in the ED. NYU Administration, take note. That is how a real leader does things.

  34. The fact that I have to respond anonymously says everything I need to about the culture of intimidation that Dr. Nunnally tried to refute.

    NYU’s pandemic response has left me, as a frontline worker – working essentially 80 hour weeks, on service for 7 straight weeks witnessing dozens of deaths weekly, and rarely told of any planned changes until already implemented – feeling exploited and undervalued. My resident colleagues at other NYC institutions have much more humane schedules. They seem to have leadership that listens, and acknowledges their shortcomings. I receive emails with warnings about speaking to media, taunts of being immature for asking for basic workplace protections, and condescending Town Halls from the department chair.

    Nearly every nurse, radiology technician, custodian, physician, etc who I’ve interacted with has been incredible. A supporting hand, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on. Nearly every member of senior leadership has down-played my concerns in chase of mythical “better numbers” or “better reputation.”

    If this is a war, as Dean Grossman recently asserted, than my faith in my leaders has been eroded. A vote of no confidence is in order.

  35. It’s hard to imagine handling COVID worse than the admins at NYU. And it’s not even necessarily about what they do, its what they say. One of your most important jobs as an administrator is to know how to make your employees feel safe and how to communicate with your employees and the community. Regardless of your amount of PPE, clearly the administrators have failed spectacularly in this regard and have failed to maintain the trust of their employees.

    This is just the latest example, an all-out attack by the top admins at NYU on some teenager’s article in a school newspaper?

    Why are you so defensive if you have done everything right?

    Do Better.

  36. This letter by Kenneth Langone, Robert Grossman, and the executives at NYULH is morally repugnant. They are attacking a teenager who is speaking out to support healthcare workers. They try to deflect from the fact that they are abusing the residents. They clearly orchestrated a disgusting campaign of negative letters and comments from administrators to attack an undergraduate student. Shame on all of them.

    The senior leadership at NYULH is a group of corrupt men who only care about money and prestige. They give us no support and they are poisoning our institution from the top down.

    Academic medicine is notoriously toxic at baseline, and NYULH is one of the worst offenders perpetuating this. We have already lost too many of our own to suicide. The trauma of the pandemic and the senior leadership’s horrific response to it will only make things more hopeless.

    Kenneth Langone and Robert Grossman: how many more of us have to die before you begin to care about us instead of your money and reputation?

  37. Wow all these administrators are reading from the same scripted garbage and of course they have to make it known what their positions/titles are to try and save face but in fact they’re looking more desperate. Anyone other than administrators who have been speaking up know the real truth and what definitely goes on behind closed doors. I work at NYU and the original article is 100% accurate. This awful pandemic has brought out the real colors of the higher ups. Even though the lack of PPE is the main issue of defense from these so called administrators don’t forget the threats that have been made to residents, fellows and other employees during this. Like removal of benefits or unable to use PTO(personal time off) just to name a few if we speak up about unsafe working conditions. We’re the heartbeat of this organization and to be treated like this is unexplainable and unacceptable. All of this can be fixed very very easily and here it is….DO THE RIGHT THING and stop rolling the dice with our lives for personal gain!!

  38. Yikes. It’s clear that the administration are greatly out of touch. They are really pulling the fake news angle? That’s a great sign something is wrong. This comment section is full of the same, copy and pasted bs that the NYU admin probably coerced everyone to write. Absolutely disgusting. These administrators are from a generation that believes in the “good old boys” hoarding egregious salaries while abusing residents and passing it off as tradition. You might have been able to get away with this tactic 10 years ago, but not today.

  39. Look at all these fucking tools writing manufactured garbage and signing at the bottom with a ton of bullshit after their names. I’m a doc too but quit acting like having that shit after your name makes the lies any more okay. Fuck NYU, fuck the admins, and fuck you guys for trying to gaslight.

  40. I am a NYU Medicine alumnus, graduated 4 years ago. I have many friends who left NYU for residency elsewhere because of the toxicity. Some stayed and currently have nothing good to say about the institution. As far I know, those who left NYU do not want to come back. Myself included. It was toxic 4 years ago, and it is toxic now.

  41. Please. You are refusing to provide disability insurance or hazard pay for residents, many of whom have families to think about, despite the fact that the job they are doing is extremely dangerous and could end their careers. You plotted behind the scenes, as evinced by leaked emails, to intimidate residents into silence and to gaslight them into feeling like they are unprofessional or uncaring for wanting security and a sense of being appreciated in these uncertain and frightening times. And now you are trying to intimidate the media as well, with your phony outrage.

    Until each member of the administration gives up every cent of its earnings above the pay for the average resident compensation and stops trying to silence trainees’ voices, your words ring hollow. I can see why NYU Lagone and some other New York programs are regarded as among the most ‘malignant’ of all. It seems your unsavory reputation is well deserved.

  42. As a first year resident who had strongly considered ranking NYU #1 in the match, i am thankful every day that I’m not there during this calamity. The administration’s coordinated response in this comment section is an embarrassment.

  43. Nothing convinces me of the veracity of criticism quite like the entirety of leadership denying an undergraduate opinion piece then going to the comments and seeing a united front of professional language that would make the wall of blue proud

  44. The coordinated response from Langone administration in this comments section is laughable and transparent. I hope that after the COVID-19 pandemic, no medical professional is forced to endure such an incompetent administration. Nobody deserves this — except maybe Robert Grossman and the rest of his ilk.

  45. It’s embarrassing and disturbing how the NYU administration has coordinated this attack on a student’s piece instead of OWNING UP to the fact that maybe their housestaff is working under non-ideal conditions?? They’re not the only place in the country with that problem. I agree with the skeptical comments above — where are the residents jumping to defend NYU? Focus on what you can do to improve your residents’ working conditions, not on preserving your image. So thankful these are not the people I work for.

  46. These comments are an obvious campaign by the NYU administration. These individuals abuse us, work us greater than 80 hours a week, provide no hazard pay and inadequate PPE. When we ask for proper protection they threaten our jobs. These people are the most evil of evil.

    Help us. They must be stopped. We have no leverage and if we are terminated that is nearly a decade of training down the drain.

    Save us from the following reincarnations of evil:

    Kenneth G. Langone

    Chairmen of the Board of Trustees, NYU Langone Health

    Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees, NYU

    Robert I. Grossman, MD

    Dean and CEO, NYU Langone Health

    Steven B. Abramson, MD

    Executive Vice President and Vice Dean for Education, Faculty, and Academic Affairs

    NYU Langone Health

    Robert J. Cerfolio, MD, MBA

    Executive Vice President and Vice Dean, Chief of Hospital Operations

    NYU Langone Health

    Fritz François, MD, MSc, FACG

    Chief Medical Officer

    Professor, Department of Medicine

    NYU Langone Health

    Joseph Greco, MD

    Senior Vice President and Chief of Hospital Operations

    NYU Winthrop

    Bret J. Rudy, MD

    Senior Vice President and Chief of Hospital Operations

    NYU Langone Hospital–Brooklyn

  47. It’s startling enough for top administrators to write such an unkind message to a student paper, but its appalling to the level of Orwellian brazenness that these coordinated comments appeared underneath it. It must have felt good on the part of these administrators, as you probably saw this as a show of solidarity. Such intolerance. Such thin-skinned defensiveness. Such collective tyranny.

  48. You should be ashamed! Bullying and shaming seem to be NYU administrators favorite tactics. This is a letter that will be seen by many and it will be very obvious that a)that no one that actually put there lives at risk agrees with the above sentiments and b)administration will take any actions to silence their staff and bad press. When some sort of policy for recognizing workers was put into place with vacation time, it had so many stipulations that it ignored hundreds of frontline workers that got sick, put there lives on the line and will have continue to work in these conditions for the foreseeable future know they are not being recognized for it. If you are willing to compare yourself to other institutions maybe you should take a page out of their book and recognize all employees such as the Medpage article states:
    “ Other local hospital systems have responded to the call. Northwell Health is slated to deposit $2,500 bonuses to front-line workers and New York-Presbyterian granted eligible staff a $1,250 bonus. At Mount Sinai Health System, top executives announced they would take a 50% pay cut to offset COVID-19 costs.

    Nate Wood, MD, an internal medicine resident at Yale New Haven Hospital in Connecticut, said residents pushing for hazard pay are not only motivated by financial incentives, but are also seeking a gesture from leadership that demonstrates institutional support. His program has granted residents $1,800 bonuses, he said.”

  49. It is interesting to read that the admin / managers have all come out in defence of their policy / PPE / etc, but very few from the residents themselves.
    I am amazed that a country like the US, this sort of thing happens – then I read about how residents are too intimidated to voice their concerns, lest they suffer the hand of retribution.
    Frankly, I’ve seen this song and dance from the admin / managers / executive team before, so I know who to believe (I.e not them). I agree, residents need to be appropriately protected and compensated, and to use CDC guidelines (which changes like the wind) is just an excuse. My institution has gone above and exceeded CDC recommendations – only a handful of our clinicians have caught Covid as a result.
    And testing – if our staff have symptoms, we test them (forget about guidelines – if we can’t look after one of our own, then what’s the point)

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