“New York is a complicated city! Everything here is mixed up, and sometime’s you’ve gotta dig deep to find quality.”
Did you know that all of the hospitals in Manhattan are horrible? By horrible, I mean compared to the rest of America, but they’re not so bad compared to the hospitals of the district center in Russia, even the Sklifosovsky Insitute of Emergency Care. When you think, “Manhattan…” you see a fairytale in your mind, but there’s no fairytale here. What there is are walls of a faded pond hue, bad linoleum, and hospital rooms for two. Sharing a room here is the last thing you want to do, especially after a C-section, and especially when the criteria for leaving the hospital after said C-section is passing gas- or to put it more formally, intestinal gas relief. Passing gas after the surgery shows that all of the bodily functions have been restored, therefore you’re required to race across the hallway as quickly as possible to stimulate your intestines. I mean, gas relief is wonderful, just not when you’re sharing a hospital room with a stranger!
This is why it’s good to know the specifics of your hospital in advance, so you can prepare for any situation. Childbirth is a very important event in any person’s life, where money shouldn’t be an object, so if you decide to deliver in New York, come to me for advice! I promise the hospital won’t be cheap, but to give birth in NYC will be one of the most wonderful memories of your life!
“New York is one of the few places in America where the wealth division is extremely high between services offered to everyday citizens and to the wealthy. For them to get decent service is no small feat, they need inside connections, and ways to cut corners.”
Lenox Hill Hospital on East 77th street has been trying to escape the rut of private medicine for years. In any case, without financial support, it is difficult to make ends meet for a state hospital, but even here you can find a secret floor with secret rooms for expecting moms.
“Rumor has it that Jay Z renovated 5 rooms on this floor so that Beyoncé would feel comfortable and recover with a view of Park Avenue.”
Her room is called the Park Avenue Suite, and it resembles a nice 4 Seasons suite you’d expect to see in LA. The suite is a large room divided into two areas, so your spouse can sleep in peace on the other side, while two convertible couches allow room for even more family to stick around for your big day. A special water mattress for the new mom inclines however much is comfortable, with all appliances tucked away in a closet so it really doesn’t look like a hospital. Another plus is that room service is included in the deal, with offerings like lobster ravioli and fabulous steaks. It’s great for your spouse, but for a new mom it’s not that important since you aren’t even allowed to drink for 24 hours after your C-section. A soup is allowed on the 36th hour, but hey, at least your spouse can enjoy the perks! The room is $2400 per night, but in order to book the room, the hospital requests $5000 per night for 4 nights leading up to the birth, in case you deliver early and the room is unavailable. Basically, $20,000 guarantees the room, not including any other services, or additional costs you’ll have to pay for if you don’t have American health insurance.
About the doctor. Your OBGYN is the most important. There’s a typical American stereotype of the crazy pregnant lady pestering her doctor with questions in the middle of the night, calling a cell phone with no answer. If you want a doctor to pick up the phone in the middle of the night, give birth in Moscow or hire a private doctor. This doctor will call you himself, and torture you with questions like “How did you eat, poop, sleep?” He will book ultrasounds for you and make a commotion about it, though he doesn’t perform it himself. The task of the personal doctor is a VIP approach to patients, which is why they usually don’t take medical insurance. My doctor’s name is doctor Sassoon, cousins with Vidal Sassoon, or so he claims. It doesn’t matter who his relative is, what’s important is that if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have my Andryusha! He did everything possible to make sure I carried the baby full term. He was controlled and monitored my every step. Thoroughly measuring the fetus’s weight development led him to put me on bed rest after the 24th week. He added stitches inside to help support the weight of the baby, and basically stitched him in for life!
“After the birth, he gave me a piece of the thread with the words… ‘We should pray for this piece of string!'”
Albert Sassoon is a wonderful man, and not as expensive as you would think. For managing all of the aspects of the birth and the pregnancy, he charged $25,000, $1500 extra for the C-section. The only thing his fee doesn’t cover is an ultrasound, which is generally around $350 with insurance- not quite as expensive as a regular doctor’s visit, which runs around $500 to see someone on the Upper East Side, whether they’re a cardiologist, hematologist, or pediatrician.
If you ever need a blood test, Manhattan has Lab Corp, which practically has laboratories on every corner. Their experienced staff can pierce your vein without you feeling anything at all. I can’t say the same about the experience in the maternity unit at Lenox Hill. Even if you’re staying in the Park Avenue Suite, you still have to get checked in with everyone else. In order to get in into super Park Avenue Suite, you still have to register at the unit with everybody else.
The majority of medical offices in Manhattan, especially in the wealthy Upper East Side area, are located on the first and bottom floors of regular buildings. These spaces resemble old apartments with rusty floors, old ceilings, and old appliances, as well as tacky waiting rooms with awful beige roses. To be honest, it’s better not to get sick in Manhattan at all, but if god forbid you do, head over to the medical center that specializes in your condition. If you need diagnostics, there’s nothing better than the Mayo clinic in Minneapolis, though they also have a division in Arizona.
In my opinion, New York is overrated from a medical point of view, but it’s understandable. Everything here is so expensive, just starting from transportation costs alone, everything adds up to dictating a high price. If it’s possible to get treatment elsewhere, do. However, a baby delivery performed by Sassoon at Lenox Hill Hospital in the Park Avenue Suite is an unforgettable experience! If you ever get the opportunity, it’s a must. Your child will have an interesting place of birth, and the first street they see will be Park Avenue! I can always work out a deal thanks to my connections, so call me if there’s a delivery in your future!
Text and photo by Masha Lopatova © Fashion IQ, 2015