Patterico's Pontifications

4/3/2020

Upper West Side Co-op Board Boots Visiting Doctor From Building, In Spite of Being Expert At Intubation

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:08 am



[guest post by Dana]

Answering Gov. Cuomo’s call for medical volunteers from across the nation to go to New York to help save lives during the ongoing nightmare of a coronavirus outbreak, New York born Dr. Richard Levitan left New Hampshire to help at Bellevue Hospital Center, where he once trained. Unable to find an available hotel room, he ended up staying at his brother’s vacant apartment on the upper West Side. When word got out that he was a doctor helping to manage coronavirus patients, the building’s board of directors kicked him out. This, in spite of his reputation as “a teaching guru on managing the human airway,” including “performing the tricky but vital task of intubation, threading a breathing tube into people who are not getting enough oxygen”:

At the end of seven hours in mask, gown and gloves at Bellevue Hospital Center on Monday, Dr. Richard Levitan finally had a chance to look at his phone.

Dr. Levitan, an emergency physician who lives in northern New Hampshire, had volunteered to work for 10 days at Bellevue, in Manhattan, as coronavirus patients besieged New York City hospitals. Monday was his first shift there.

A text had arrived from his older brother, who was letting him use an apartment on the Upper West Side. It read: “Hey Richard — We are so proud of you and your heroism. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but looks like our apartment building doesn’t want you staying in our apt.”

The building’s board of directors wanted him out.

That took a minute to sink in.

On the one hand, Dr. Levitan was answering the state’s urgent plea for help in the worst public health crisis in decades.

On the other, his brother was dealing with the idiosyncratic creature known as a New York City co-op, run by a board of apartment owners. Within their four walls, co-ops are tiny nation-states, like thousands of Vatican Cities inside the five boroughs.

So, while Dr. Levitan was working to save the lives of strangers, his brother was pleading with his neighbors on the board to let his sibling lay his head in the apartment. He got nowhere. The board had heard what he was doing and did not want him around.

Note: Most residents had already left the building to hunker down elsewhere – perhaps even in Dr. Levitan’s resident state of New Hampshire:

Though it has nearly 300 apartments, the building was quiet. “The place is a ghost town,” Dr. Levitan said. “Anybody with money has left.”

The building’s manager declined to answer inquiries by The New York Times about Dr. Levitan’s eviction “but offered to pass on an inquiry to the board. No one replied to that, or to phone messages and emails left with board members.”

Lesson here: It’s perfectly acceptable for the wealthy and well-connected to flee NYC to the less populated neighboring states and hunker down in their vacation homes, but it’s not acceptable for a medical expert who is desperately needed by patients at NYC hospitals to stay in their near-empty buildings.

Gov. Cuomo pleaded just four days ago: Help New York. We are the ones who are hit now. Who could imagine that those answering the call would be given the boot.

–Dana

34 Responses to “Upper West Side Co-op Board Boots Visiting Doctor From Building, In Spite of Being Expert At Intubation”

  1. Not a good look for the wealthy who can easily afford to leave the city for safer regions.

    Dana (4fb37f)

  2. The only* reason anybody buys a co-op is to keep undesirables out. It’s like a single-family home with 300 owners**, and not subject to fair housing laws. It has no other legal advantages and a lot of disadvantages (chiefly the loss of the right to sell it, lease it, mortgage it, or otherwise alienate it), but it makes sure your neighbors are the “right of kind of people”.

    In sum, the good doctor is hoist on his racist rich jerkoff brother’s own petard.

    I’d like to know his own living arrangements in New Hampshire too (not really, that’s just an expression).

    *I know what “only” means.
    **No, it’s not like Vatican City.

    nk (1d9030)

  3. The article states that the doctor tried to find other lodging, but the hotels were not yet set up to house medical professionals coming to help fight the outbreak. That is something that Cuomo’s staff is trying to accomplish. I don’t know what the brother does for a living, or how it was that he came to live in that building.

    Dana (4fb37f)

  4. I read somewhere that it took Trump several years of conniving and finagling to get the Palm Beach crowd to let him buy Mar a Lago. They thought he would bring down the neighborhood. And in the end, he only got it because nobody else wanted the white elephant.

    nk (1d9030)

  5. 1. I hate a lot of wealthy people, but not because I’m jealous of their wealth (as they’d like to believe). It’s because so many of them are jerks.

    Gryph (08c844)

  6. This situation has given me additional understanding of how Jared came to regard the national strategic stockpile as “ours,” not “yours.”

    John B Boddie (286277)

  7. I hate a lot of wealthy people, but not because I’m jealous of their wealth (as they’d like to believe). It’s because so many of them are jerks.

    They’re jerks and they’re wealthy, other people are jerks and they’re not wealthy, generally, some people are jerks. Correlation is not causation.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  8. I’ll be contrarian.

    If the hotels need to make special arrangements for medical personnel, and have yet to do so, why should we expect private buildings to do better?

    Kishnevi (acea15)

  9. Lesson here: It’s perfectly acceptable for the wealthy and well-connected to flee NYC to the less populated neighboring states and hunker down in their vacation homes, but it’s not acceptable for a medical expert who is desperately needed by patients at NYC hospitals to stay in their near-empty buildings.

    They’re no going to get far if they flee to vacation estates on Rhode Island.

    There’s a ‘bed and breakfast’ just opened up on 11th, between 34th and 40th— called Javits Center. Cabins available for a “snooze ‘n’ cruise” aboard the USNS Comfort, too. BTW, the Upper West Side is the pseudo chic bastion for affluent yuppie types; the Upper East Side [the infamous Silk Stocking District] is where the wealthy reside. The ‘nouveau riche’ hole up in Tribeca; the trendy types in gentrified Brooklyn. The Bunker types- Queens an Staten Island. The homeless, the Port Authority Bus Terminal and most enclosed bank ATMs.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  10. nk (1d9030) — 4/3/2020 @ 10:37 am

    If NYC co-ops are like those in Florida, each unit “owner” actually owns a certain number of shares in the co-op. You can sell the shares and associated rights, subject to the consent of the board. You can’t mortgage or use the shares as collateral for the loan, and the building is sometimes subject to a land lease.

    The result is that a co-op unit is usually a lot cheaper rhan the equivalent condo unit, so if you have enough cash on hand that you don’t need to get a mortgage, it may represent a good deal.

    Kishnevi (acea15)

  11. Yes, kishnevi, that’s the usual form. But “poor” people are still not going to end up owning them because, snootiness aside, the other members will want someone who will pay his share of the common costs, not the least of which is the real estate taxes.

    nk (1d9030)

  12. Or maybe it is the least, if it’s a fancy-schmancy place with a 24-hour doorman, concierge, valet parking, and a dozen janitors.

    nk (1d9030)

  13. nk, 24-hour doorman, concierge, valet parking, and a dozen janitors. describes every building on Condo Canyon here, including the ones where the schleppers from Jersey City retired so they say they can have a condo near the beach even if the window only gives a view of the parking garage.

    Kishnevi (acea15)

  14. Aja Asia

    Up on the Hill
    Got nothing upstairs
    They just don’t care
    Chinese markets sell the strangest stuff
    Pangolins, bats and Shar Pei muff
    Asia
    When all my sick pukin’ is through
    I’ll run from you

    Up on the Hill
    They’ve got time to burn
    There’s no return
    Toilet paper’s good as gold tonight
    Hand out the face masks
    Let’s do it right
    Asia
    When all my lung burnin’ is through
    I’ll run from you

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  15. 7. I said nothing about causation, Klink. I don’t know how well-off you are and I don’t care. But in my experience, jerks are over-represented in the ranks of the well-to-do.

    Gryph (08c844)

  16. Dana, at #1:

    > for the wealthy who can easily afford to leave the city for safer regions.

    which they absolutely should not under any circumstances do because the risk of bringing the virus with them and infecting the communities they are going to is just too **** high.

    NK, at #2:

    > The only* reason anybody buys a co-op is to keep undesirables out.

    not true. a lot of people buy them because they’re what’s available at a reasonable commute to work and at a price they can afford and they need a place to live.

    Kishnevi, at #8:

    > If the hotels need to make special arrangements for medical personnel, and have yet to do so, why should we expect private buildings to do better?

    I think it’s reasonable to expect a private building to allow a part-owner to have his brother stay with him, especially if that brother is only there to help save lives.

    Refusing to allow the doctor stay in his brother’s apartment is an a**hole move. So you’re scared. Deal with it and trust him to take the precautions that he thinks are medically necessary.

    aphrael (7962af)

  17. My boss lives in an upscale apartment building in NYC East side. He and his wife are home. He told me this week that the doorman told him that of about 400 apartments in the building, 300 are now empty, their owners gone for greener pastures.

    Bored Lawyer (56c962)

  18. Exactly, aphrael, it’s apparently fine for the wealthy to jump the city and take their infected selves to less populated/infected regions because money.

    Dana (4fb37f)

  19. Ok, guys, I’ll amend my “buys” to “establishes”.

    nk (1d9030)

  20. 16. Deal with it and trust him to take the precautions that he thinks are medically necessary.

    Trust?!?! CornyVee remains unavailable for comment.

    “Yes, ’n’ how many deaths will it take till he knows; That too many people have died? The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind; The answer is blowin’ in the wind…” – Bob Dylan, 1962

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  21. Leftist NIMBY’s.

    NJRob (2e5014)

  22. Seems like this article should have the names of the coop board members in it.

    Time123 (53ef45)

  23. Cuomo Announces Highest Single-Day Increase in N.Y. Coronavirus Hospitalizations and Deaths

    Not good…

    Ragspierre (d9bec9)

  24. Guess how a plague spreads from badly affected areas?

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  25. When people are being told to isolate themselves to prevent the spread of COVID-19, why is anybody surprised that the Co-op board is trying to isolate the building from someone who has frequent contact with COVID-19 patients? They are doing exactly what the government has advised them to do!

    The Dana in Kentucky (fd0d45)

  26. The better-looking Dana wrote:

    Exactly, aphrael, it’s apparently fine for the wealthy to jump the city and take their infected selves to less populated/infected regions because money.

    Your statement assumes that they are infected. Actually, they are taking themselves to places with fewer medical resources.

    They are doing exactly what the government has suggested: they are self-isolating. You cannot applaud the orders suggestions of the government for social distancing and self-isolation, and then be outraged when some people do so.

    The Dana in Kentucky (fd0d45)

  27. Hi Other Dana,

    I was engaging in a bit of hyperbole there; I think you get my drift.

    Actually, they are intentionally taking themselves to far less populated areas that have not been decimated by the virus, like NYC has been. The state government has not encouraged or suggested that residents leave their homes to go to other states or locations to shelter in.

    Dana (4fb37f)

  28. >Your statement assumes that they are infected

    Because incubation can be as long as fourteen days and because you are infectious for days before you are symptomatic, the only ethical behavior if you have not been completely self-isolated for fourteen days, and you are coming from a place with known community spread, is to *assume* you are infected until proven otherwise, and behave accordingly.

    aphrael (7962af)

  29. Honestly, no one knows if they’re infected unless they’ve been isolated for 14 days. The minute one goes out and interacts with others, the 14 days starts over again. Now rates of likelihood can certainly vary, but generally speaking…

    Dana (4fb37f)

  30. Consider how the fleeing NY’er is impacting locals and their limited resources:

    The Hamptons are so over-run with wealthy New Yorkers panic-buying food and stretching medical supplies that local leaders are now asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo to issue a travel ban from the city.

    The move comes after Dr. Deborah Birx, of the White House coronavirus response team, said at a press conference this week with President Donald Trump that cases of the virus were spreading from New York City with people trying to flee the epicenter of the virus.

    Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said, “A new trend is taking place that puts our residents at further risk — people seeking refuge from the metropolitan areas. It is simple math: the more people that come, the greater the spread and the greater the confirmed cases.”

    Amid alarming scenes of empty shelves in Hamptons stores and people lining up at 6 a.m. to grab basic supplies as deliveries arrive, he said, “We have a limited number of stores trying to keep their shelves stocked and ration out supplies as best they can. Local residents are finding it difficult to meet even their most basic needs. Unnecessary hoarding and the recent, sudden expansion of the population by those who come are making it far worse.”

    Russell told Page Six by phone on Friday that he and the East End Mayors and Supervisors Association — representing all big towns out East — were urging Cuomo to issue a travel ban on all non-urgent journeys to the East End. And those who had recently arrived must quarantine inside for 14 days. He said, “We are not trying to tell those who have summer homes to stay away, this is about the people who really have no attachment to the community.

    “There’s an influx of people we’ve never seen before. This is putting unnecessary stress on local resources and potentially on hospitals out East, which are very well managed, but have a limited supply of equipment.”

    Dana (4fb37f)

  31. This speaks to the point about fleeing New Yorkers not knowing whether they are infected, and potentially putting everyone else at risk:

    Martha’s Vineyard, for example, has one hospital on the island and it has 25 beds, the Boston Globe reported. The sole hospital on the nearby island of Nantucket has 14 beds.

    Groceries have been in short supply as New Yorkers head to vacation homes in other places, too. When New Yorkers started heading to their summer homes in the Catskills region, year-round residents noticed how they left grocery store shelves bare.

    “They’re pumping gas. They’re stopping at grocery stores,” Kim Langdon, a 48-year-old resident of Ashland, New York, told the New York Times. “If they’re infected and they don’t know it, they’re putting everyone at risk.”

    Dana (4fb37f)

  32. It’s really incredible how often assumptions of potential infection turn out to be true. Of those 211 UT students who went to Mexico, more than a fourth have tested positive. I don’t know if it just spreads ridiculously fast or if the people who don’t take the social distancing and quarantine seriously are less responsible about touching their face and other common sense issues.

    Gryph and Other Dana’s concerns are valid. I know the government’s interest is legitimate, but that doesn’t mean the government isn’t full of fools who will exploit emergencies. On the other hand, Other Dana, consider how many families are going to spend the next few years being more independent, perhaps being less dependent. The urge to keep shoving money at them will be powerful on both sides of the aisle.

    Dustin (928d9a)

  33. aphrael wrote:

    Because incubation can be as long as fourteen days and because you are infectious for days before you are symptomatic, the only ethical behavior if you have not been completely self-isolated for fourteen days, and you are coming from a place with known community spread, is to *assume* you are infected until proven otherwise, and behave accordingly.

    With the media full of doom-and-gloom stories, and state governors taking unprecedented authoritarian actions, is it any wonder that people would react strongly to preserve their own lives?

    You have just said that it is unethical to be concerned about self-preservation, the strongest instinct human beings have. Virtually no one has been completely self-isolated, in that people still have to do radical things like buy groceries.

    The Dana in Kentucky (fd0d45)

  34. Dustin wrote:

    I know the government’s interest is legitimate, but that doesn’t mean the government isn’t full of fools who will exploit emergencies.

    Alas! If only they were fools, and not tinpot dictators who believe that they should run everybody else’s lives.

    On the other hand, Other Dana, consider how many families are going to spend the next few years being more independent, perhaps being less dependent. The urge to keep shoving money at them will be powerful on both sides of the aisle.

    As someone who has retired to his farm, I very much appreciate and support greater individual independence; it’s kind of a necessity for us. But that does not mean I believe that the government has the right to compel such.

    The Dana in Kentucky (fd0d45)


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