PARK SLOPE — New York Methodist Hospital on Friday agreed to pay restitution and cleanup expenses after being charged with violating state environmental conservation law regarding the storage of regulated medical waste.
The charge, which was made by the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, stems from an investigation into several incidents of improper disposal and containment of medical waste last year. The hospital cooperated with the DA’s Office after it was informed of the investigation.
In March 2011, according to the District Attorney’s Office, a truck carrying regulated medical waste overturned near the exit ramp of the Lincoln Tunnel in New Jersey, spilling waste onto the road. An investigation conducted by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey traced the materials to New York Methodist Hospital, and the District Attorney’s Office launched an investigation.
Between March and May 2011, investigators from the District Attorney’s Office and several other agencies watched the hospital’s loading dock and witnessed several other violations. In a separate incident in May, workers at a solid waste transfer station in Brooklyn who were not licensed to handle regulated medical waste discovered a bag of it in their facility, and they contacted the District Attorney’s Office.
“I am thankful that New York Methodist Hospital has agreed to take responsibility for these serious incidents and to take the necessary steps to protect the community and the environment from such irresponsible mishaps in the future,” said Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes. “I would also like to thank the numerous city and state agencies that helped my office in this investigation.”
“We are grateful that the district attorney has acknowledged New York Methodist Hospital’s commitment to the safety of its patients, the community and the environment,” said Mark J. Mundy, president and CEO of New York Methodist. “The hospital’s innovative Waste Management Environmental Compliance Program includes a top-down commitment of resources from New York Methodist Hospital administrators.”
The hospital also committed to overhauling its waste-management procedures to insure future compliance with all environmental regulations, according to Hynes’ office.
— Raanan Geberer
Brooklyn Daily Eagle