A strike at two New York City hospitals that saw more than 7,000 professionals walk off the job last week has placed attention squarely on the shortcomings of the US health care system. While inflated health care costs and unequal access have dominated the news cycle in the past, last week’s standoff between health care workers and employers has centered on a less talked-about but nonetheless critical crisis in the nation; a shortage of nurses caused in part by the coronavirus pandemic and resulting overcrowding and bottlenecks at hospitals nationwide. The acute problems forced workers to take the highly unusual step of striking at Mount Sinai Hospital and Montefiore Medical Center, demanding employers hire additional staff to help alleviate long-standing problems that have steadily been coming to a head. Ridana Atkinson-Thompson, a nurse at Mount Sinai who took to the picket line last week, told Anadolu that she and many of her colleagues decided to take the extraordinary step to strike because of a lack of staff and severe overcrowding that has imperiled the health of patients. “We have patients being placed in hallways that are actually sick and need beds. It’s inhumane, it’s demoralizing to put somebody in a hallway,” she said.