Hundreds protest to keep Long Island College Hospital open

NEW YORK (PIX11)- As Long Island College Hospital remains on life support through legal battles, today hundreds of people came out to remind those in need that the hospital remains open.

“The community is welcome at Long Island College Hospital, and should come to that hospital and get the care that they need,” said Jill Furillo of the New York State Nurses Association.

Doctors, nurses, politicians and patients all gathered at Coffey Park in Red Hook and marched to the hospital to show how much these Brooklyn neighborhoods need the medical center.

“We’re out here to say you can’t close hospitals in communities, especially a community like Red Hook that is just trying to recover from Hurricane Sandy,” said Amelia Adams of NY Communities for Change.

But SUNY Downstate, which bought LICH back in 2011, says it’s hemorrhaging cash, losing about $11 million a month.
Officials attribute about $4 million of the monthly losses to LICH.

“I’m here today because LICH saved my life,” said LICH patient Susan Raboy.

Susan Raboy, is a patient at LICH. She’s worried, if the hospital closes, SUNY Downstate won’t just have to worry about losing money, it will have to worry about losing lives.

“All of Downtown Brooklyn, Red Hook, where would they go?  The service is wonderful, the doctors and nurses are caring.”

And with the future of Long Island College Hospital tied up in the courts, some of the staff here at the hospital say they haven’t been receiving necessary supplies.  Some even say they’ve had to dip into their own pockets to make sure their patients get adequate care.

“We are supporting ourselves at this point.  Morally, financially, we’re fighting,” said LICH nurse, Lori Balzano.

With all plans for closure on hold, at least until a hearing scheduled for next month, the staff and supporters say they’ll continue to fight while the hospital still has a heartbeat.