Metropolitan Hospital Center announced last week it will join New York City's "Goods for Guns" campaign to help get illegal weapons off the streets, becoming the first hospital in the city to join the effort.
Hospitals in Dallas, Denver and other cities are participating in similar programs (see cover story, p. 26). Denver's Children's Hospital is the first hospital in the nation to sponsor a gun-exchange program.
Goods for Guns is an initiative started late last year by New York merchant Fernando Mateo. Under the program, some 3,000 weapons have been turned in to the police in exchange for food, toys and other items. So far, the Goods for Guns Foundation has collected $300,000 in donations.
During the next three months, nurses, physicians and other employees of 607-bed Metropolitan will conduct fund-raising events and collect donations for the Goods for Guns Foundation. The foundation will use the money to buy merchandise that can be traded for guns.
"Our doctors and nurses see the tragic results of the flood of illegal firearms on our city streets every day in our emergency room, and the innovative and highly successful Goods for Guns effort gives us an excellent opportunity to do more than treat gunshot victims," said Lorraine Tregde, acting execu tive director of the public hospital.
Mr. Mateo, founder of the city's gun-swap, said, "As the first hos pital in the city to join with us to help take weapons out of the hands of people who shouldn't have had them in the first place, Metropolitan has shown its interest in saving lives and helping prevent more violence." Organizations that have contributed merchandise include Toys `R' Us, Foot Locker and Dial-a-Mattress.
Metropolitan Hospital Center is one of 11 acute-care hospitals operated by the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp.