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    Posted March 1, 2009 by
    Queens, New York
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Signs of the economic times

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    Hospitals Closed In New York City Leave Thousands Unemployed and a Community in Danger



    Jonathan Mena






    Queens, NY - As Midnight neared, close to 2500 would face the new day without a job. St. John's Hospital in Elmhurst and Mary Immaculate in Jamaica , Queens, both shut their doors today. Caritas, the health management company that ran the hospital filed for chapter 11 and laid off its entire staff.


    Workers for the hospital were visibly upset about the prospect of looking for new jobs. Mark Schwartz, an EMT who worked for St. John’s for 3 years said he found out they where closing by word of mouth and what he saw on the news. “Tomorrow I will start looking for jobs on craiglist. What choice do I have.” said Schwartz.


    Justina Allen, a Nurse who worked at the hospital for 18 years was more optimistic, “I can find a job because I have skills but what about the rest?” Aside from the medical staff these two hospitals employed a large number of blue collar employees who cleaned the hospital and ran maintenance. 


    The closure means these hospitals located in predominately immigrant communities will have to travel much farther to receive medical attention. Mary Immaculate which is located in a large latino and black community will force nearby Jamaica hospital to taken handle the extra load.


    Overcrowding will create longer wait times in already overcrowded hospitals. Patient care will suffer because of the loss of these two hospitals. Ambulance response time will also see a sharp decline since both these hospitals provide EMT services through out central Queens.


    An EMT who asked not to be named said, “Don’t have a heart attack in Queens. You might not make it fast enough to hospital now that the we are closed.” One thing was clear you are better off getting sick in Manhattan than Queens.



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