After the New York State Department of Health approved on Friday SUNY Downstate Medical Center's plan to close Long Island College Hospital, which calls for all remaining patients to be transferred or discharged on or before July 28, Public Advocate and Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio successfully petitioned a judge to issue a temporary restraining order against the hospital's closure. NY1's Magee Hickey filed the following report.
Stas Resnik, a 15-year Cobble Hill resident, helped hang a sign to save Long Island College Hospital after efforts by SUNY Downstate to shut the financially struggling medical center.
"I just had a complete cardio workup by these guys," Resnik said. How safe is it to live across from a hospital?"
Resnik and several other people from the neighborhood say North Brooklyn needs this hospital to stay open.
"The waiting lines at the other hospitals they're sending me to are like, three, four hours to be seen," Resnik said. "Here, you can be seen in minutes, and it's always been like that. It's a very efficient hospital."
"What we need is a health facility which focuses on the health care of the residents of Brooklyn," said Brooklyn City Councilwoman Letitia James, who is also a candidate for public advocate.
Friday the State Department of Health OK'd SUNY Downstate's timetable to stop admitting patients to the emergency room on Monday and cease all emergency department operations the following Monday.
However, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who is also a mayoral candidate, got a second temporary restraining order to keep LICH open until a court hearing on Thursday.
"The medical judgment of the medical staff is what is controlling the situation now, according to Judge (Johnny Lee) Baynes' order," de Blasio said. "For example, if someone walks in needing medical care, the medical staff gets to make the decision. Not the administrators, not SUNY. The medical staff."
It's welcome news Mike Turkey, a Cobble Hill resident whose son is celebrating his third birthday Saturday.
"I moved to neighborhood about a year ago, and it's very comforting, I have a 3-year-old, 3-year-old son, comforting having a hospital 50 feet from my house, and we've gotten to realize it's an institution for the neighborhood," Turkey said.
Several elected officials are hoping that LICH will stay open for at least another year, which will give time to seven different organizations who've expressed interest in keeping this medical facility running to put together their proposals.