Dear Editor:

On behalf of the Harlem Hospital Center family and the Harlem community, I write to express our deep disappointment with the inaccurate report of your journalist Cyril Josh Barker and your front page story, “No Scrubs – Harlem Hospital basic supply shortage affecting patient care,” published May 9, 2013.

The anecdotal accounts about supply and staffing shortages that you reported as facts based on one patient’s experience and the concerns of a labor union official are simply false. The story unfairly extrapolates from this one patient’s account to make negative and unsupported generalizations about the care at Harlem Hospital and all New York City public hospitals. Specifically:

The headline: “No Scrubs” is simply wrong and unnecessarily alarmist. Of course, Harlem Hospital has plenty of scrubs available for use by medical personnel on any given day.

The sub-headline: “Harlem Hospital basic supply shortage affecting patient care.” We have no shortage of the necessary medical and housekeeping supplies that our patients need.

We also have a talented and committed nursing workforce of more than 700 RNs, LPNs and nursing support staff who work tirelessly for the health and well-being of all our patients.

Harlem Hospital Center has long worked successfully with members of the media, especially community publications like the Amsterdam News, to balance the responsible implementation of and compliance with our patients’ privacy and the needs of the press to report stories you deem of interest. In fact, we have a strong record of transparency and work hard to accommodate media requests that often go beyond our responsibility to provide public information.

We value our ability to work together in a collaborative and professional manner. We look forward to working with you to develop stories about the high-quality, compassionate and efficient health care services provided by Harlem Hospital Center to the community for which we so deeply care. The inaccurate and alarmist story published May 9 needlessly promotes fear and is counter-productive to these efforts in the Harlem community.


Denise C. Soares, RN, MA

HHC Senior Vice President & Executive Director of Harlem Hospital Center