A June 2008 videotape of Esmin Elizabeth Green lying on the floor of the psychiatric emergency room in Brooklyn's Kings County Hospital provoked outrage among many who saw it. Green, age 49, collapsed and died after waiting more than 24 hours to be treated.
New York City's Health and Hospitals Corporation has agreed to pay $2 million to Green's family to settle a wrongful-death lawsuit. Meanwhile, readers of the New York Times are venting in e-mails to the Gray Lady, citing the city's culpability and broader failings of the mental health care system, in addition to calling for a "one payer" health-care system. "I was livid," one wrote about reading the story. "I have a close family member who suffers from bipolar disease and has had many visits to hospitals such as this."
New York City's Department of Investigation continues to look into charges of criminal culpability, and Green's family is calling for those responsible for her death to be prosecuted. The hospital says it is reducing crowding in the psychiatric emergency room, and notes that it has hired more than 200 doctors, nurses, psychologists and social workers to manage patients. Which left one reader to ask, "Why is it that administrators have not been fired for institutionalizing neglect at this hospital?"