NEW YORK (PIX11) – Mayor Michael Bloomberg remained silent today as two major hospitals in the city teeter within days of shutting down for good. A judge Tuesday ordered a contempt hearing for SUNY Downstate for violating an order to keep the hospitals open and to continue treating patients there. PIX11 has learned the State Attorney General’s office and the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office have both initiated separate investigations into the closing of Long Island College Hospital in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.
“If you’re in that life or death situation and your mayor won’t help you, that’s disgusting.” Said Public Advocate Bill De Blasio who last week filed for the temporary restraining order. SUNY Downstate has said LICH is operating at a 15 million dollar a month deficit – a number critics say has yet to be validated. Governor Andrew Cuomo oversees SUNY Downstate which prefers to sell the property to a real estate developer rather than consider offers from 7 health care organizations said to be interested in keeping LICH open. Advocates and neighborhood groups say neither the Governor’s office nor the Mayor’s office have reached out to them to discuss the closures.
Emergency Medical Technicians who work at LICH say their ambulance runs are taking 5 to 10 minutes longer while carrying critical and serious patients, often having to drive past LICH to get to other hospitals as upper management at the hospital have been ordered to tyurn all patients away.
Keeping LICH open until a new plan can be devised would be far more than a moral victory. Once a hospital is closed, the procedure to open a new one becomes very complicated. in 2010, St Vincent’s hospital in the West Village closed with no other emergency care options nearby, a promise was made to re-establish emergency care in the affluent neighborhood – a promise that has yet to be kept.