Interfaith Hospital Patients Go Without Heat as the City Freezes

By Paul DeBenedetto on January 9, 2014 8:05am 

 Patients in some areas of Interfaith Medical Center went without heat for two days during a winter cold snap, a spokeswoman confirmed.
Patients in some areas of Interfaith Medical Center went without heat for two days during a winter cold snap, a spokeswoman confirmed.
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DNAinfo/Paul DeBenedetto

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — Patients in parts of Interfaith Medical Center went without heat for two days during this week's record-breaking cold snap before a problem with the heating system was corrected, DNAinfo New York has learned.

"Small pockets" of the Bed-Stuy hospital experienced heating problems Tuesday and Wednesday due to a problem with the building's heating coils, which were having issues spreading heat to certain areas of the hospital, a spokeswoman for Interfaith confirmed on Wednesday.

The problem was eventually fixed by late Wednesday afternoon and patients were never in danger, the spokeswoman said.

"We've had some problems," said the spokeswoman, Melissa Krantz. "Thankfully, it's not a pervasive problem."

Krantz could not immediately confirm which areas of the hospital were affected by the busted heating system.

But inside Interfaith's behavioral health unit, nine stories up from the hospital's toasty lobby, patients, visitors and hospital workers bundled up to stay warm throughout the cold hallways.

One patient said she could see her own breath when she woke up Tuesday morning because of the temperature in her room.

The patient, whose name is being withheld, said she and others on the floor spent much of the day huddled in a small recreation room to keep warm.

"If you take a shower and go back in your room you'll catch pneumonia," the patient said. "I walk around in a jacket, I walk around in a blanket."

One woman, who declined to give her name because her son was a patient at the hospital, refused to take off her hat, jacket and gloves when she visited on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon.

"Yesterday it was 4 degrees [outside]," the woman said on Wednesday. "It doesn't make no sense, having no heat like this all day."

Interfaith, a struggling state hospital undergoing bankruptcy proceedings, was recently given $3.5 million in state funds as part of a plan to keep the hospital open until March.

Its future after March 7 is still unknown.

A spokesman for the city's Department of Health said that no city hospitals were experiencing heat problems. Officials with the state's health department did not return a request for comment.

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