New York City spent $52 million building a hospital in a tennis facility that only ended up serving 79 coronavirus patients as other hospitals in the city were flooded.
The temporary hospital established in the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center remained mostly empty for the roughly one month it was open during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report from the New York Times. Documents from the hospital, which opened on April 10, revealed that doctors at the facility were paid as much as $732 per hour but hardly had any patients to treat.
Katie Capano, a nurse practitioner from Baltimore who worked in the facility, said she was embarrassed to have done so little while the pandemic raged through the city.
“I basically got paid $2,000 a day to sit on my phone and look at Facebook,” Capano said. “We all felt guilty. I felt really ashamed, to be honest.”
Bureaucracy and miscommunication have been blamed for the debacle.
Doctors who worked at the facility were saddled with additional paperwork, and the facility was barred from accepting patients who had a fever, which is a standard symptom of COVID-19. The facility also only had two ventilators, preventing the hospital from assisting severely ill patients.