Charity Hospital, the cornerstone of the downtown hospital system, was built in the 1830s and, at one time, was the largest hospital in the world.Wow, at one time the largest hospital in the world. Now:
It opened a triage center in the New Orleans Convention Center immediately after the hurricane and now continues to operate in an abandoned department store, treating about 4,500 patients a month in tentlike facilities.Why is Charity Hospital important?
Swamped with a twofold to threefold increase in indigent patients since Hurricane Katrina closed Charity Hospital in New Orleans, Jefferson Parish's public hospitals are running alarming budget deficits and begging for help from the state.It must suck when you are a hospital and you have to treat everyone who walks through your doors.
Dr. Mark Peters, president and chief executive of East Jefferson General Hospital, speaks in blunt and dire terms about the increase in nonpaying patients as well as escalating labor costs, forces that began taxing the New Orleans area's health care system after the Aug. 29 storm.
"The current health care infrastructure around the city is ready to crumble," he said.