(COBBLE HILL, BROOKLYN) – As Long Island College Hospital clung to life support on Friday, doctors and administrators waged a spirited war of words, “Fight, fight, fight, health care is a human right,” was chanted over and over again.
However, away from all the cameras and protests a sad story began to emerge, what to do with the patients that remained?
As LICH supporters continue to battle for its uncertain future, the Cobble Hill hospital still has 12 patients inside, according to hospital attorneys. One of them is 81-year-old Celso Heredia inside of Room A502.
The Mexican national was admitted on June 15th and diagnosed with “Altered Mental Status / Rhabdomy.” Heredia, who does not speak English, was picked up walking along the eastbound lane of the BQE by officers out of the 88th Precinct.
PIX 11 News has learned that Heredia’s only address listed is a P.O. Box in Fort Pierce, Florida. He reportedly had a connection to the address of 108th North Eighth Street in Ft. Pierce, but a woman who has rented out the property for more than 10 years said via a phone call that she does not know him.
As for the next of kin? He has none.
According to a June 21st New York Times article entitled “Disoriented Man With ID Is Still A Puzzle” Heredia had $300 and a note written in English: “Please help this person get on the correct bus to Atlantic City.”
As for his possessions? They are all inside of a bag.
Additionally, when questioned by NYPD Detectives, the 81-year-old informed them that he thought that the year was 2005 and that he was in California.
However, what adds more intrigue to Celso Heredia’s case is that on Thursday, just hours after a protest to save LICH breached security, someone logged onto to the Internet. The time was 3:58 p.m. and the person purchased a one-way non-refundable Greyhound bus ticket from New York City to Fort Pierce. The trip would last for nearly 27 hours and include transfers in Richmond, VA; Fayetteville, NC; and Orlando, Fla.
The name on the ticket? Celso Heredia.
He never made it.
When PIX 11 News spoke with Heredia in a call, he confirmed that he does not have a credit card and nor did he buy the ticket.
The doctor who conducted Heredia’s discharge after 11 p.m. on Thursday confirmed to PIX 11 News that the hospital had purchased the ticket. Then the doctor confirmed that the hospital was working on purchasing an airline ticket for Heredia.
SUNY’s Counsel in Albany would not comment on Heredia’s case.
Additional messages left with SUNY CEO James Karkenny went unanswered.
As for the legal battle? Late Monday, a judge ruled in favor of hospital supporters that LICH needs to stay open until the courts rule otherwise.