Letters to the editor, June 28

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

The health impacts of family separation

Dr. Mitchell Katz, president and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals Corporation, parent organization to Bellevue and other public hospitals, wrote the following letter on Thursday, following a press briefing.

Over the last few days, I have received messages from distraught physicians, social workers, and other health care providers in our health system who are understandably horrified by the unjust treatment of immigrants across our county. They are seeing first-hand the serious health impact to children of immigrants who have been torn apart from their families — and not at our border, but here in New York.

After separation, some of these children have ended up in our Emergency Departments accompanied by their government-appointed guardians who are often unfamiliar with the children, have no access to medical records, and have no way of getting in touch with a family member to get a medical history.

We have seen children as young as five and have treated teenagers who have presented with signs of anxiety, trauma and stress-related illness, including one extreme case of a teen with suicidal ideations after being separated from his mother.

We know the health risks associated with tearing apart children from their families are very real, including an increased risk of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress and attention-deficit disorder. And the demand on health care professionals in NYC and across our country will undoubtedly continue to grow.

That’s why I wanted to take this moment to again thank the amazing workforce at NYC Health + Hospitals for your continued commitment to providing compassionate, humane and high-quality care to all. These challenging times help to underscore the essential role you play by bringing to life our mission to care for all without exception.

One of our physicians from the Bronx said, “Our clinicians feel despondent and helpless in the face of such cruelty.  We can only help to comfort these children and show them that kindness does exist.”

So let’s keep showing them kindness and respect. Let’s keep giving them the health care they need and deserve. And let’s keep making it clear to the world that at NYC Health + Hospitals, immigrants can seek care without fear, and that the health care professionals in our health system stand against any actions that bring unnecessary harm to our immigrant community.


Getting hit by a bike in a no-ride area

At the north end of East River Park where the walkway is narrow, at the Con Ed plant, I got hit by bicyclist fully from the back, despite the area being a “dismount your bike and walk area.”

The no-biking sign is at the far south end of the narrow passage, so no bicyclist ever pays attention to it. The painted-on bike lane and walk line need to be repainted; they are faded.

When will the park service enforce their rules? The cops sit in their air-conditioned cars in the north end of the East River Park walk and check their smartphones.

Hermann Reiner, ST

Editor’s note: Reiner sent along a few photos, one which shows a sign clearly telling cyclists to dismount and others of his scraped up knee, elbow and fingers.


Please park Fido’s butt elsewhere

As much as I enjoy shopping at Trader Joe’s, I am concerned and alarmed seeing customers placing their unleashed “service dogs” inside stores’ shopping carts. These carts are used for unwrapped fruits and produce along with countless edibles. I brought this to the attention at both the Chelsea and Third Avenue Trader Joe’s.

Each manager was in agreement, yet could do no more than offer to wipe down the cart and ask the customer to remove the animal. More needs to be done. This is clearly a health violation. I spoke with staff working at the Third Avenue store. I learned that several times each day such complaints are expressed; yet nothing is done. As yet, a store policy has not been in place stating that carts are for food (or small children) only. Is the fear of offending those needing their dogs to accompany them negating the majority of customers expecting to carry groceries in clean carts?

I have reached out to both City Council members (Corey Johnson and Keith Powers) as well as attempted to contact Trader Joe’s corporate offices.

Trader Joe’s offers outstanding services, excellent pricing, and is consistently customer friendly. Therefore, I believe a reasonable policy, ensuring safety for everyone needs to be in place.

Hazel Roslyn Feldman, ST

Town & Village reached out to a spokesperson for Trader Joe’s about the concerns raised in this letter, but did not hear back.

Additionally, we would like to recommend a compromise since we completely understand the author of this letter’s concerns but we can also understand why an owner would not want to put a small dog on the floor of a busy supermarket where someone with a cart, not seeing it, could cause it great bodily harm by running it over. Additionally, since people don’t expect to see dogs in supermarket, there is always the risk a person could trip over it. Supermarket and grocery store owners might want to consider having some thick towels on hand to offer dog owners to place in the carts for dogs to sit in so Rover’s rear and the cart don’t make direct contact, while keeping the service animal safe from harm.

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