Local Leaders Call Anticipated Closing A Public Health Emergency

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Demonstrators held an all-night candlelight vigil Sunday in hopes of saving Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn from closing.

Reverend Herbert Daughtry called the anticipated closing of the Bedford-Stuyvesant hospital a public health emergency.

“Those who are responsible for closing it have potentially shortened the lives of unnumbered people,” said Daughtry. “This hospital is so crucial in maintaining the health in this community.”

“We’re talking about lives that’s being lost, so we’re actually committing murder if we shut down this hospital,” one demonstrator said.

Interfaith Medical Center declared bankruptcy in December. It has survived for the past decade mainly on infusions of state aid.

Interfaith’s restructuring plan to pull it out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy was rejected by the state Department of Health.

Those in the community said they won’t back down and are hoping Gov. Andrew Cuomo steps in to save the center.

“If we have to do it everyday, we’ll do it until Cuomo hears what we are saying,” one demonstrator said. “I really want the governor to know, there’s 1,800 people that’s going to join the unemployment line and we’re not going to accept that from him, we’re going to fight back.”

“It hurts because we provide excellent care to our patients in the emergency room so it really hurts to see this hospital close,” one worker said.

Last month, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city cannot, and will not, step in.

“The reality is you can’t have a hospital on every corner, and that’s up to the state, but that’s what you see playing out all across this country,” he said.

The hospital is expected to stop in-patient admissions on Thursday.

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