BROOKLYN (PIX11) — If you get sick in one neighborhood it’s going to take longer to get you to the hospital. Long Island College Hospital stopped accepting patients brought in by ambulance at 6 a.m. Thursday morning.
“I think it’s terrible. It’s a very sad day for E.M.S. and for hospitals and for Brooklyn in general,” said paramedic Adam Viars who has been on the job for 5 years. “It’s gonna affect them very badly. If there is a critical person in this area we’ll have to take them to a hospital father away. It’s a dangerous situation.”
The move has sparked protests. Long Island College Hospital serves a very dense area and the closing will affect a lot of people according to Viars.
“It’s going to mean people’s lives in the long run. The area serves Red Hook,Cobble Hill,Carroll Gardens, and Brooklyn Heights.”
S.U.N.Y. Downstate Hospital runs L.I.C.H. and says they decided to cut the service because they have lost so many doctors and staffers because of financial problems. Some of those problems are said to stem from the number of patients without insurance. But Stas Rzeznik who lives across the street from the hospital sees it another way.
“I think Downstate is trying to close down the hospital and sell it for real estate. That was the original idea when they took it over.” He added “This is a pretty valuable piece of property here , and they have already sold quite a few pieces of it in the neighborhood,” Rzeznik says the building could end up being converted to condos.
In the past, the governor has proposed that a private company take over the hospital something that is upsetting to Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and protesters because they say a private company may not accept the uninsured. Stringer told a crowd Wednesday.
“You should not have to be a millionaire to live longer.” In the meantime 70 residents are scheduled to leave the hospital after Sunday adding an even heavier burden to the remaining staff.
Some hospital workers held out hope that the courts would intervene and save both the ambulance service to the emergency room and the hospital.