Your death risk if infected with COVID-19 depends on a variety of factors, according to research, including your age, gender, pre-existing health conditions, and race. Now a new study has found that one external factor can heavily influence whether you live or die: the type of hospital you seek treatment at.
A New York Times investigation has found a link between the type of hospital an individual infected with COVID-19 was admitted to and their chances of death. Those who were admitted due to the virus to public hospitals in less wealthy boroughs were four times more likely to die than those who were treated at private Manhattan hospitals.
Death Rate Higher in Public Hospitals
Overall, the death rate of those hospitalized for the virus in the Big Apple is overall one in five. According to NYT research, at New York University Langone’s flagship hospital, a private hospital ranked 2nd in the city, the death rate was just 11 percent. At Bellevue Hospital Center, located at Madison Avenue and East 30th St in Manhattan—which is ranked one of the best public hospitals in the city—the death rate was double at 22 percent.
“Certain hospitals are located in the heart of a pandemic that hit on top of an epidemic of poverty and stress and pollution and segregation and racism,” said Dr. Carol Horowitz, director of the Institute for Health Equity Research at Mount Sinai.
Over in Brooklyn at Coney Island Hospital, the death toll jumps to 41 percent, while just 17 percent have died at Mt Sinai’s flagship hospital in Manhattan. However, they also point out that another branch of Mt Sinai over in the outer borough of Brooklyn, where patients are more likely to be poorer and people of color, fared much worse, with a death rate of 32 percent.
The paper also points out that the biggest difference between the medical centers is their resources. While NYU Langone grosses about $2.26 billion and employs 20,424 people. New York Health and Hospitals, which includes Bellevue, made just $36 million and only employs about 40,000 people across its 11 hospitals. This can result in less access to equipment—ranging from ventilators to dialysis machines—to an inability to administer experimental treatments such as Remdesivir.
Lives Could Have Been Saved
“If we had proper staffing and proper equipment, we could have saved much more lives,” Dr. Alexander Andreev, a medical resident and union representative at Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center, a struggling independent hospital in Brooklyn, told the paper. “Out of 10 deaths, I think at least two or three could have been saved.”
No matter what hospital you go to, it’s essential we present a united front: wear your face mask when around people you don’t shelter with, practice social distancing, wash your hands frequently, monitor your health, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these Things You Should Never Do During the Coronavirus Pandemic.