Crouse Hospital: Microcosm of Failure


I think I’ve figured out why Crouse Hospital is not the hospital of choice by anybody for anything:  it’s staffed and managed by incompetent morons.  Crouse Hospital is the reason I have high blood pressure and sleepless nights.  I live next door and they’re terrible neighbors.

Crouse’s H2 parking lot is located at the corner of University Avenue and Harrison St.  It is surrounded on three sides by apartment houses.  Most of them are occupied by university students but the closest one is a HUD-subsidized property that houses 180 people, most of whom are disabled by sickness.  And what Crouse does that makes it such a nasty neighbor is plow the H2 parking lot in the middle of the night and keep us from our needed sleep.

I’m not talking about plowing fresh-fallen snow.  We all know and accept that fresh-fall has to be plowed when it falls, not to mention that the subcontractor who does the plowing is very nice and quiet about it.  The driver is very good and the plow is very quiet—thunk, swi-i-i-sh [silence] thunk, swi-i-i-sh [silence].  It’s actually kind of comforting to know that everything’s under control.  You easily can sleep through it.

The problem is Crouse moving and removing existing snow piles in the middle of the night.  About a month ago they authorized the subcontractor to bring in three dump trucks and a front-loader at ten o’clock Sunday night.  The parking lot had been sitting empty all weekend; they could have moved their snow then and let the neighbors sleep at night.  Instead, they noisily worked all night.

So I called Crouse and talked to a fellow in Security who told me that it wasn’t them, it was their subcontractor, and he didn’t have the authority to stop him, and he had no supervisor on the premises who could.  The way I figure it, if somebody’s doing work on your property then you always leave a designated supervisor in charge who can exercise authority.  I think it’s pretty poor management not to.

So I called 9-1-1 and asked them to send the police out to ticket these guys.  They said they would send someone to talk to them.  What, talk?  I want them ticketed!  The noise ordinance says that if your noise can be heard beyond fifty yards then you’re in violation, and you get a very expensive ticket.

So then I went on-line and found the chief financial officer of Crouse Hospital, who is not a middle-aged, balding, overweight guy.  It is Kimberly Boynton, a young mother.  I sent her a complaint and called her the next day.  She said she has a newborn baby at home and she was fully sympathetic to the problems of not getting enough sleep.  She’d referred my complaint to Vice President Bob Allen, who was setting up a team, and –.  Good grief.

But Bob Allen got back to me the next day to tell me that he’d contacted the contractor and the moving and removing would no longer be done during the night.  I’d requested an embargo from 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.  He agreed to 9:00 p.m. to 6:30 a.m., saying they have to get the sidewalks plowed so people can get to work.  Me and my 179 sick neighbors are going to sleep.

The next night the front-loader is in the parking lot pushing snow around again.  The bucket hits and drags, the engine races, the back-up alarm beeps and beeps and beeps.  I hate the back-up alarm.  So I contact Bob Allen again and he looks into it and tells me that the contractor has been restricted but the front-loader was their own man and nobody told him.  Good grief.  So now we’re going to sleep peacefully.

Ah, no. The next time the guy is out there around 2:30 a.m.  There has been no new snow for four days.  The temperature has been above freezing thus resulting in melting.  The parking lot has been sitting empty all weekend.  There are small piles of snow in each corner and a couple hundred open parking spaces.  There is no reason to be moving the snow around.  Nevertheless, they’re doing it.  Why is a hospital that is in perpetual financial crisis unable to stop wasting money?

I call the hospital and talk to the nurse administrator.   She says she’ll send someone to stop it.  At 5:30 a.m., it starts again.  The guy with the front-loader is now moving snow in the rain.  Personally, I think the guy doesn’t like the other tasks on his job profile so he sneaks out to the parking lot whenever he can to drive his boy-toy and get away from watchful eyes.  I call 9-1-1 and ask for the police.  I call the nurse administrator.  I write another email to Bob Allen with a copy to his boss.  He doesn’t reply for several days, then he blows me off.  Clearly, at Crouse Hospital the management team cannot control its employees.

But spring is coming, right?  Nature will put a stop to this, right?

Wrong.  Sunday we got a foot of snow.  It stopped snowing at 8:00 a.m. Monday.  At 4:30 Tuesday morning, they’re plowing the parking lot again.  I try to go back to sleep but can’t.  Too much noise.  Somewhere in suburbia, Vice President Bob Allen is tucked up in his bed sound asleep:  why should me and my neighbors be kept awake?  Our severely compromised health circumstances necessitate a good night’s sleep.  The hospital doesn’t care?  They only care about the health of their patients, not their neighbors?

I call Security and the guy says he’ll send someone out to stop it.  The bus comes, the two drivers talk, the bus leaves—and the plow keeps on going.  I wait a while, then call Security again.  The guy says he talked to the driver but they decided the problem was the lights.  Good grief.  They’re plowing next to an eight-story building wherein the tenants can’t even see the parking lot, and we have our eyes closed.  Middle of the night, in bed, trying to sleep, eyes closed:  we see no lights.

So the Security guy says, “I guess the sound is a problem, too.”  No, now I think the problem is morons at work.

If Crouse Hospital cannot stop its employees from wasting money by unnecessarily moving snow, and violating the noise ordinance by doing it in the middle of the night, then what hope is there that they can manage the rest of the hospital?

Apparently none.  At 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, the front-loader was back in the parking lot.  Neither rain nor sunshine nor dark of night will stay Crouse Hospital from noisily moving snow around.

About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
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