NYU Hospital Embroiled In Controversy After Barring 60 Year Old Volunteer Organization

NYU Hospital Photo: Shimon Gifter

NEW YORK      NYU MEDICAL CENTER located at 550 1st Ave, in Manhattan has stopped a decade’s old practice of letting Satmar Bikur Cholim visit by professional volunteers and their ability to serve and offer basic social services to patients and their families.  In a sudden change of policy, the NYU Hospital administration didn’t notify any volunteer organization professionals that they will not be allowed to give food to patients or advocate on behalf of any patients.  The new policies have seriously effected urgent services the organization provides.

There have also been allegations of mistreatment by NYU hospital towards patients.

Is NYU hospital taking revenge on Bikur Cholim for their patient advocacy and proven track record of saving lives through their advocacy?  GifterInGotham spoke to a few patients at NYU hospital and other local hospitals and was told this is more than just a food issue.

Patients stated the work that Bikur Cholim and other organizations do for patients is so important that there must be intervention from community leaders to not let this go unnoticed. One patient said, “it might sound extreme but people will die without the Bikur Cholim type of advocacy.”  Some advocates maintain Obama care is part of the problem by putting a tremendous strain on hospitals looking at patients as a profit vs non-profit and mention elderly patients are not worth saving by NYU standards and other hospitals.

Why is Bikur Cholim important?

  • People need to feel connected to the community especially when they are ill or homebound.
  • Bringing the community to the bedside lifts the spirit of those who may feel forgotten.
  • Studies have shown that social contact and support positively influences those needing and receiving comfort.
  • Visiting and caring activities help build community and character.
  • Kosher food helps the patients eat in a timely manner. Patients rely on the Bikur Cholim food and tend to skip meals if they do not get their packages. Nutrition issues crop up when patients skip meals or do not eat an entire day.
  • Advocacy on behalf of patients and family members.

These are just some examples of the incredible work that Bikur Cholim volunteers do on a weekly basis. After 60 years with minimal issues, the Jewish community has every right to get a detailed explanation as to why Bikur Cholim is not allowed to continue their amazing services.

For the past few decades, the Satmar Bikur Cholim led by the late Mrs. Miriyam Lubling has serviced the patients of NYU MEDICAL CENTER with the highest level of professionalism. All the volunteers are highly trained and certified to provide patients with support and attending to the families emotional and personal needs.

The food commissary run by the Bikur Cholim is certified by the NY State and NYC Dept of Health and is built with the highest quality to meet the strictest of hygiene and cleanliness, standards. Satmar Ladies Bikur Cholim founded before WWll and brought over with the refugees to the USA and has been servicing the sick and needy in NYC ever since its inception. From Medical referrals to respected institutions and Physicians the tireless volunteers of Satmar Ladies Bikur Cholim do not sleep! They deliver food daily by families request to hospitals where there is a need. They cover a void the hospital cannot cover because of culture and special requests.

GifterInGotham reached out to Bikur Cholim for comment on the controversy and was told, “The situation has now reached a crisis point where a total disregard for any cooperation and total disregard for a long relationship between the Bikur Cholim and NYU has been placing families and patients in danger. This action taken by NYU came without any communications and discussion with BikurCholim.”

“We ask the respected Dean Grossman of NYU hospital to speak to Dr. Andrew Brotman and see why he is disrespecting 60 plus years of the tradition of giving towards others and why disrespect NYU patients that are asking for their special requests to be covered? Please allow the Bikur Cholim to continue their mission.”

Calls to the hospital for comment have been ignored. Bikur Cholim says they have been trying to get an official explanation from NYU hospital for two months and have not received any response other than they will look into the matter which was a few weeks ago.

Bikur Cholim asks New York City residents to please contact Dean Robert I Grossman Of NYU and show your dissatisfaction with the status quo.

DEAN ROBERT I GROSSMAN   EMAIL IS  [email protected]

FOR FURTHER INFO CALL THE OFFICES OF BIKUR CHOLIM AT 718 387 7749

25 COMMENTS

  1. this must be some infighting between different wonderful organizations . Unfortunately, power gets to the head. There was infighting between different Bikur Cholims at other hospitals. Each one wants an exclusive. Hope I am wrong and its the hospital giving a hard time.

  2. We had the same story with our father just this February, My father who is 78 was rushed to NYU to get a feeding tube done because of his swallowing disorder. they told my mother to let him “die” because they decided that he has no quality of life. My fathers medical team for the past 10 years “said the same” and worked against our family wishes. They wanted him to starve until he dies. My mother who is a brave women, very loving and caring wife said NO WAY, I WILL NOT LET THEM DO THAT and did the right thing and took my father out to Lenox Hill. The tube was done and now he has gained back his life b”h and acting normal hugging my children again. don’t let them do it to your family member, you have the choice of going to other good doctors and hospitals in Manhattan. We need to stand up against NYU new rules they have put in place new ways to make money. Call your local politicians and let them know what is going on there.
    PS. The hospital Liaisons for the community didn’t return our calls at the time we called and begged them for help with the situation as well………………..

    • Common sense.. cause you told them in the V.m. why you are calling, and that’s against there job duties… believe it or not…

  3. Article and video are correct and to the point.
    Just one correction. Reb. Miriam Lubling was head of Rivkah Laufer Bikur Cholim. While she was not affiliated with SBC, she was known far and wide as a ferociously fierce advocate for patients’ medical care. Y’hi zichroh boruch.

  4. Hope this gets resolved as quick as possibly ! Acquiring kosher food is difficult , whereas non kosher can be gotten all over .
    I even had issues when ordering kosher foods from restaurants and having to send someone down to the lobby because they wouldn’t let them come up to deliver it . SatmarBikurCholim went and go above and beyond for all kosher patients in all hospitals. They are a vital source for so many especially with their Shabbos packages ! Please bring light to this situation and let them continue this wonderful volunteer work .
    P.S. they not only restocked the bikur Cholim room , but also cleaned up and kept it clean .

  5. As to the nightmare and the lack of care for patients that are deemed untreatable, this is a long problem at all hospitals. There have been several articles in the frum magazines and the Chaim Aruchim org has been trying to deal with this real problem the only way this will be solved is when hospitals will be reimbursed for keeping people alive. As of now they only get paid for hospice care. Write to your local politician and to major organization. Nothing else will help.

  6. NYU sucks they killed my father. Hatzalah should stop transporting there, without patients and them loosing money maybe they will shape up.

  7. I am confused as to how many Satmer Bikur Cholims there are. There seems to be several with similar sounding names. I would also be concerned if I were the hospital administration as to who the volunteers are, what is their training, how is food safety being assured, and what precautions are in place to make sure that predators do not sneak in under cover of being a volunteer. I suspect there is a lot more to this story that we are not hearing.

    • So why didn’t they accept the offer of registering all volunteers to have valid photo ID’s? It’s simple, cause these volunteers didn’t just give food, they also listen to patience and when they feel they can save a life from being killed by NYU they raise their opinion, advising patients family to seek outside medical advice, and that got NYU angry………. go ask your family/neighbor that was there recently…

    • I’m sure they go through full training whatever that means, but if I were a hospital administrator and responsible for patient safety I would want to know who is going and coming in my hospital and I would like to know what kind of oversight there is over volunteers. There was an incident a few years back in New York/Cornell Hospital where an elderly patient alleged that they were molested by a hospital visitor. I would also have concerns about food safety with food being transported by volunteers in un-refrigerated vehicles and food being distributed outside of the hospital H.A.C.C.P. system. I’m sure the Satmer food is fresh, good, and tasty, but you have to look at this from the other side as well.

      • come on, when your mother brings you food you also want the hospital to stop her????, Bikur choilim brings food for those who want them to do so, in fact if you want to get food @ your bedside you must call in and request that.. so mind your own business, everyone knows they are not part of hospital, in addition NYU still allowed them to bring food to the biker choilim rooms, why? if it’s a quality issue? ?? it’s all cover up, NYU wants to implement obama care by all means, (since they don’t have so many BIG DONORS like other GOOD hospitals have, and they wane survive) that means even stopping life support for people against their religion, and bikur choilim volunteers goals are to HELP people stay alive, so they are a conflict of interest, and like everyone knows bikur choilim does what’s right, not what’s profitable. KEEP IT UP! THAT’S SATMAR!

    • After watching the video above I take back my previous comments. It seems that NYU is engaging in vindictive and retaliatory actions against Bikur Cholim, because of opposition to hospital policies on end of life care and withholding of life prolonging care. These decisions should be made without any coercion and should be made by the patient or their family members, not bureaucrats or doctors. The doctor who was the subject of the video as being thrown out for refusing to comply with the families treatment wishes, should be publicly identified and should lose his privileges in NYU and should face disciplinary action from the medical board.

  8. NYU sucks. They do not believe people should be kept alive if it costs them too much money. If Bikur Cholim cant bring food, people will leave quicker. You barely come out of 10 hr surgery when they bombard you with discharge choices.

  9. There is two sides to every story,
    hospital needs to protect hippaa law from those so called volunteers intruding patients privacy.

  10. mount siani may b forced by the state to shut down their chessed room beacuse of chassudim run by another satmar guy. he doesnt understand why patients dont want the food that he collected from simchas a few nites before and left unrefrigerated in his car. its dangerous for people to eat even if they arent cholim. disaster waiting to happen there. good for the hospitals for taking action.

    • what you are claiming had nothing and has nothing to do with Bikur Cholim. Bikur Cholim food is NYS certified in real kitchens and the food is handled properly and inspected. Do not blame an organization or what others do illegally. Secondly, there is a reason why people have badges. Volunteers go through training (supposed to) and hospitals have meetings etc. This is politics from the hospital and other frum org’s which is disgusting and it’s literally killing patients.

  11. A real shame! Without Bikur Cholim delivering food to the patients, hundreds of patients would starve away, I’ve been a live witness to their unbelievable work, this silly act of NYU will absolutely slap them back in the face.

  12. NYU has one Bikor Cholim room managed well for so many years. When it was effected by hurricane, they rented across the street for a while. Nothing changed with Bikur Cholim but with NYU and no notice.

    There is no HIPA problems with Food or patient getting help. HIPA is for the doctor and hospital not for the patient. The patient owns their records.

    I had personal horrible experience with NYU twice as crezy it sounds

    I had a scheduled surgery that was approved by insurance and set a date was showing the date on insurance approval and other documents. all arranged a babysitter for my kids, off from work etc.

    Was notified that I’ll get a call day before with details and timing.

    Day before, 2:00 we call for schedule, someone will still call you today, we call 6 again, answer again the might be backed up.

    We call 8:00, answer was you are not scheduled st all!!!

    2nd time in ER Transfering for hours back and forth, tacking wrong exrays had to go three times in line for exrays, transferred three times to wrong floors. Wasted 8 hours for nothing!!!

    Their HIPA needs a big fix with leaving signin names and tablets had auto complete previous patient name address ss etc coming up, as I showed them more then once!!!

  13. My grand child has been a patient at nyu several times and the satmar biker chol I’m has helped us tremendously although we are not chasidim it did not make a difference they treated us like royalty.they are angels

  14. This is a message to the unnamed satmar guy who collects food from weddings and supposedly leaves it in Mt. Sinai Bikur Cholim room. The mt. Sinai bikur cholim room is boruch hashem stocked better than any hotel. It does not need these leftovers. You are commended for doing a great mitzvah and saving this food that would go to waste but instead of taking it to the hospital there are people in Brooklyn that repackage the food and give it out to poor families. if you want their phone numbers email me [email protected]

  15. where are the updates to this story? NYU issues a comment. then SBC issued a comment that whoever spoke on their behalf had no right to. What is REALLY going on here?

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