Andrew Cuomo Was Responsible for Thousands of Nursing Home Residents Dying, He Should Face Charges

State   |   Alex Schadenberg   |   May 15, 2020   |   11:45AM   |   Albany, New York

On April 14 I published the article: Covid-19, Triage guidelines and nursing home deaths. In this article I argued that some Covid-19 nursing home deaths were related to Triage guidelines and protocols preventing the transfer of Covid-19 patients to hospitals to receive treatment.

The article recognized that many nursing home residents with Covid-19 were likely going to die based on pre-existing health conditions, nonetheless, some of the deaths were related to guidelines and protocols to not provide treatment. I stated that these guidelines and protocols were a form of discrimination, ageism and elder abuse.

New York State is one of the most devastated regions for Covid-19. As of May 13, the New York state has reported more than 338,000 Covid-19 cases and almost 22,000 deaths.

Further to the devastation experienced by New York state is the number of Covid -19 nursing home deaths.

Governor Cuomo has just rescinded a policy forcing nursing homes to accept residents who were Covid-19 positive without providing the resources and protective equipment needed to care for these people.

Clearly, a policy forcing nursing homes to accept residents who are infected with a deadly virus that spreads to others is a policy that would cause many deaths.

It is disappointing that a NBC news May 10 report seems to champion Governor Cuomo’s decision to reverse the policy forcing nursing homes to accept Covid-19 positive residents rather than recognizing that the policy reversal was long-overdue.

NBC news report by Cynthia McFadden comparing the Connecticut policy to the New York policy does indicate that New York’s policy had lethal consequences.

Connecticut Governor Lamont established a policy of sending Covid-19 positive residents into special facilities to prevent the spread of the virus. Lamont stated to McFadden that:

“Nursing homes are like a petri dish for this pandemic,” added Lamont, who pushed the plan for facilities restricted to coronavirus patients only.

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The same NBC news report points out that:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has drawn criticism for his response to outbreaks in nursing homes, including a mandate that required the facilities to take back coronavirus patients being discharged from hospitals.

…Cuomo has also faced scrutiny for saying it’s “not our responsibility” to provide protective equipment like masks and gowns to privately owned nursing homes, although the state has now done so.

A May 9 Associated Press report criticized Cuomo’s policy and the number of Covid-19 deaths in New York’s nursing homes. The article quoted Elaine Mazzotta, a nurse whose mother died last month of suspected COVID-19 at a Long Island nursing home:

“The way this has been handled by the state is totally irresponsible, negligent and stupid,”

“They knew better. They shouldn’t have sent these people into nursing homes.”

The Associated Press article pointed out that:

Of the nation’s more than 26,000 coronavirus deaths in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, a fifth of them — about 5,300 — are in New York, according to a count by The Associated Press, and the toll has been increasing by an average of 20 to 25 deaths a day for the past few weeks.

Whether Cuomo’s policy was an oversight, stupid or criminal, Connecticut’s Governor Lamont got it right when he said:

“I think, especially in a crisis, the buck stops right here,”

Cuomo’s negligent policy has likely resulted in the deaths of thousands of nursing home residents. His policy was not only a form of discrimination, ageism or elder abuse, but rather it was criminal. Note: Alex Schadenberg is the executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and you can read his blog here.