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

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Echo Chen

(Illustration by Echo Chen)

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. 

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]