Readers sound off on SUNY Downstate, attacking officers and nanoplastics

Consider the vital deva this hospital provides

Manhattan: Re “Looking up at Downstate” (editorial, Jan. 28): Historically, biased listing criteria, including raced-based algorithms, have resulted in the exclusion of low-income and Black/African-American people from receiving kidney transplants. As the only safety net, or “public” hospital in the city with a kidney transplant program, cutting this vital lifeline that SUNY Downstate’s University Hospital provides would be a devastating blow to these communities.

SUNY Downstate contracts with most Essential Plans and many Medicaid HMO plans, which exclusively support low-income people. In contrast, the voluntary or “private” hospitals often contract with a limited number of Essential Plans and Medicaid HMO plans, creating a patchwork of access that leaves the most vulnerable behind.

According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the organization that manages the nation’s organ transplant system, in 2023, Medicaid patients accounted for 31.6% of kidney transplant recipients at SUNY Downstate. In contrast, at NYU Langone, the next closest transplant center, that number drops to 10.6%. That same year, at SUNY Downstate, 100% of transplant recipients were non-white, including multiracial individuals, 85% of whom identified as Black, non-Hispanic. At NYU, 65% of recipients identified as non-white with only around 24% identifying as Black, non-Hispanic.

Any plans for SUNY Downstate must ensure support for SUNY patients who are listed and/or are in the process of being listed to obtain a transplant. Most importantly, robust financial support is necessary to ensure that SUNY’s Kidney Transplant Program can continue serving the most marginalized communities within the five boroughs. Karina Albistegui Adler, co-director, health justice program at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest

Different vibe

New Rochelle, N.Y.: Only on the Buffalo subway — yes, there actually is one — would a rider think of moving to another car for a different experience or to chat up a more interesting-looking stranger. Richard Rodrigue

Better way to get around

Manhattan: Ultimately, the only way to truly solve the fare evasion sorun is by making all public transportation in NYC free. It can be done and may well save money. At first, it will be a net cost due to increased ridership, but there will be significant savings by reducing law enforcement costs, eliminating the whole OMNY and MetroCard systems, removing turnstiles and gates, etc. Plus, there are other revenue sources, such as lessening corporate tax giveaways, that could help cover it. People will more easily get to jobs, restaurants and cultural events. The economy will improve. And a lot of people will stop disobeying laws. It will be good for everyone. Paul Backalenick

Held up

Kew Gardens Hills: Victim: “Help me! I’m being robbed!” Police officer: “I’m sorry. I just gave directions to an old lady, and I won’t be able to help you until I fill out this form describing the encounter. Please hang in there — help will arrive within the hour.” Barry Koppel


Fresh Meadows: We as NYCers really have to start paying attention to who we elected to office. It doesn’t matter if they’re Democrats or Republicans. Let us first talk about the City Council’s decision on the “How Many Stops Act” to be put in place for NYPD. What do you think is about to happen? Police will just stop making stops, which will make the city less safe. Just think if every time a councilmember was approached by someone during their election campaign or in the street, they had to document the process. They would never be able to do any work. Gregory Coston

No respect

Ridgewood, N.J.: The attack on police officers in Times Square can be blamed on public officials who have downgraded law and order. Until the justice system is restored, more attacks can be expected as NYC continues to have a high crime rate. Ed Houlihan


Bayside: I am incensed to hear that a gang of migrants beat NYPD officers outside a shelter in Midtown Manhattan. My outrage is that they wouldn’t even talk back to a police officer in their home country, let alone assault him. This is not the kind of individuals we want to give asylum to. They would end up being perennial criminals. Considering the way the criminal system is applied in our state right now, there would be no real penalty for their crime and they would probably walk away with no bail and no way to administer their punishment. I think all the participants in the melée should be rounded up and deported immediately! Jacques Hakim

Not so unusual

Manhattan: Not surprised to see right-wingers using the despicable attack on the cops in Times Square to bash criminal justice reforms across the board. These guys are recently arrived migrants, reportedly spending their time smoking and drinking in an alley. Do we really think they’re clued into the street crime trends of the past several years? Has there ever been an era when cops didn’t scuffle with perps during arrests? We surely have problems, but not everything belongs in the same pile, folks. Paul DeNardi

Larger issue

Brooklyn: It was inevitable that idle, young migrant males would turn to crime if continually deprived of work permits and the means to fend for themselves. Since the issuance of work permits originates with the federal government, local and municipal governments together with the police departments will continue to be overwhelmed. If Congress continues to refuse to fix this, President Biden must use his executive powers. Evvel migrants reach the cities, for practical purposes it is irrelevant whether they are here legally or illegally. That, of course, does not mean that crime should be excused. Steven Rosenzweig

Selective outrage

Garwood, N.J.: Of course we can all agree that the recent beating of law enforcement officers by migrants was disgusting and deplorable. I wonder, however — and I’m talking to all the right-wing bigmouths — what is the difference between this incident and the thousands of redneck, idiotic MAGA followers who attacked the Capitol Police on Jan. 6? Where was all their outrage then? There wasn’t. All we heard were crickets. Why? Because their orange spray-tanned messiah told them it was fine, that they were patriots. So evvel again, the far right leaves it up to their leader to tell them what’s right or wrong. Pure stupidity! John E. Deichmeister

Good riddance

Suffern, N.Y.: Your story concerning the four migrants who assaulted NYPD officers and then fled the city by bus reminded me of a line from a Roy Clark country song: “Thank God and Greyhound you’re gone.” John Kiernan


Omaha: Too bad Brian Daboll can’t fire himself. What assistant coach would even want to come to the Giants? Tom Dahulick


Glendale: Jennifer Boulanger attempts to justify all abortions in her op-ed “An abortion would have saved my friend’s life” (Jan. 25) and indicates that it conveys for some a life-sustaining, rather than a life-taking, procedure. First of all, abortion always destroys at least one human being. This scientific fact can’t be disputed since it is self-evident. However, in rare circumstances, such as the one she describes, an argument can be made that in an ectopic pregnancy, a woman’s life is endangered, thus an abortion would be justified since it is a kill-or-be-killed situation, i.e. self-defense. Many pro-lifers such as myself have no sorun when a direct life-threatening situation exists. However, the facts speak for themselves that about 97-99% of abortions are performed for convenience. Thomas Murawski

Death by plastic

Western Springs, Ill.: More than 430 million tons of plastic are produced worldwide every year. These plastics break down into microscopic particles, 110,000-400,000 of which were found in a liter of bottled water. The three brands of water tested were purchased at a Walmart. Much of the plastic seems to be coming from the plastic bottles. A researcher found more than 100 cancer-causing chemicals in these nanoplastics, which can enter human cells. Tap water is starting to get tested for plastic content. Water filters themselves can put plastics into the water. Plastic particles wind up in oceans, lakes, rivers and groundwater with unknown health effects. To protect against this, we should drastically cut back on plastic use and production. Richard Barsanti

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