Archive for the ‘Emergency’ Category

Service of I Won’t Pay for That: I’m Not My Neighbor’s Keeper

Monday, February 27th, 2023

Natural disaster
Image by Barroa from Pixabay 

As it should be the taxes of parents who send their children to private school cover the cost of public school. Citizens who never call the fire department pay the freight for those who must. Those cared for in private hospitals pay for public ones.

When 50+ inches of snow fell in Buffalo, NY last December, and not a flake hit the streets of NYC, nobody squawked at the cost of helping with the cleanup. And on a national level, do citizens in Hawaii whine about FEMA funds sent to hurricane victims in Florida or Louisiana?

Subway cars
Image by RGY23 from Pixabay 

Yet, according to Ben Brachfeld of, “A group of suburban lawmakers are urging their Albany colleagues to restrict proposed payroll tax increases, meant to shore up the finances of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to businesses in the city — arguing the suburbs are already subject to ‘onerous’ taxes without service levels equivalent to residents of the five boroughs.” The tax, proposed by Governor Kathy Hochul, would be 0.5% from 0.34%.

According to Brachfeld, “In their letter, the suburban legislators suggest that municipalities outside the city should be exempted not only from the tax increase, but from the tax writ large, since it would post a levy on public funds used to run such municipalities. They also say community colleges and hospitals should be exempt from the payroll tax.”

Brachfeld reported that the levy impacts businesses in NYC’s five boroughs, two LI counties, five upstate counties that Metro-North serves. It has irritated the legislators in these places since  2009 when the tax was ratified. According to Brachfeld, MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said on WCBS radio, “It [the tax] would only apply to the biggest employers. Only 5% of all businesses would be subjected to this little incremental payroll mobility tax.”

Mayor Adams isn’t a fan either. “He says the city, not the suburbs, are getting shafted, as the Big Apple is the state’s only municipality being asked to contribute new annual subsidies to the MTA, to the tune of over $500 million per year, in addition to the payroll tax increase and fare hike,” according to Brachfeld.

I envision a child’s game of hot potato: Who will end up footing the bill when the music ends? Should suburban municipalities or their constituents who may use the MTA’s buses and subways when they work or visit NYC also pay for some?  Shouldn’t we be proud of the legacy in this country of helping those who need it when disaster strikes even if we are not directly impacted by the emergency?

Image by RÜŞTÜ BOZKUŞ from Pixabay 

Service of Being Taken Seriously When Sick

Monday, December 19th, 2022

This sick child was saved because her father had connections. What about everybody else?

Alice Tapper, Jake Tapper’s 15-year-old daughter’s opinion piece on began like this: “It started one weekend in November 2021 with stomach cramping, a low fever, chills and vomiting. Soon it became clear I needed to go to the emergency room. By the time I got there, I had low blood pressure, an elevated heart rate, intense abdominal pain and a high white blood cell count.” The title: “I almost died last year from a medical problem that was entirely preventable.”

The doctors didn’t know what was wrong and moved her to another hospital where the head scratching continued. Her parents, with her pediatrician’s guidance, suggested to the doctors that she might have appendicitis. Because her pain wasn’t exclusively on her right side they decided, instead, that she had a viral infection.

Her skin was turning green and for excruciating pain she was given Tylenol. Her mother asked for a sonogram and her dad for antibiotics, and both pleaded for a gastroenterologist to review their child’s case. They were told the former was unnecessary; the latter would make things worse for a viral infection and no specialist came.

When she described her pain the doctors gave her “condescending looks” she wrote. In desperation her dad—CNN anchor and chief Washington correspondent—was able to identify and contact the hospital administrator and he begged for a gastroenterologist to order imaging– or something.

Alice Tapper wrote: “In the middle of the night, I was rushed to get an ultrasound that revealed I had a perforated appendix that was leaking a poisonous stream of bacteria throughout my internal organs. When I learned my diagnosis, I was almost relieved. At least the doctors now had a plan.”

She goes on to describe next steps starting with surgery to rid her body of poison and later learned that at one point she was going into “hypovolemic shock — which can cause organs to stop working. That night was the scariest night of my life.”

She quoted a chief of pediatric emergency medicine at a Midwest children’s hospital whose research found that “despite being the most common surgical emergency in children, appendicitis can be missed in up to 15% of children at initial presentation.” Girls are taken less seriously by doctors than boys. And “up to half of appendicitis patients may not exhibit the classic signs of right lower quadrant pain, fever and vomiting.” [My husband, in his 70s, experienced no pain when his appendix needed to be removed much to his surgeon’s surprise and everyone else’s.]

Have you experienced not being taken seriously in an emergency health situation? Do we need to be well connected to get attention?

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay
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