NEW YORK — The coronavirus pandemic has added an important duty to Dr. Mitchell Katz’s job as head of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, the nation’s largest public health care system.
Before going to sleep after marathon days, he checks to make sure each of the 11 acute care hospitals he oversees has enough ventilators to help critically ill COVID-19 patients breathe.
“That will not go beyond Sunday, when we will exhaust our supply,” Katz said during a news conference earlier this week with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
But on Thursday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state had shipped 400 ventilators, providing a few more days of capacity.
Still, the need remains dire, and growing, as coronavirus sufferers crowd hospitals.
The shortage is forcing health care officials in New York City to weigh ethical questions about who should get priority. Their counterparts