NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn was back on life support this weekend.
As 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported Saturday, a judge ordered SUNY Downstate to restore services at the hospital to the levels where they stood prior to July 19 – the day the New York State Health Department approved closing the facility.
To comply with the ruling, the hospital must resume full-service emergency room services, as well as an intensive care unit, radiology, social work and pharmacy services.
The judge also appointed an independent monitor to keep its eye on SUNY.
In response to the ruling, SUNY released the following statement: “we will comply with the court’s order to maintain the status quo as of July 19th, 4 p.m., as we continue to work toward a settlement to resolve all the issues. As always, patient health and safety will remain our most important concern. SUNY is committed to the critical work of preserving Brooklyn’s only medical school and moving forward with (University Hospital of Brooklyn) restructuring, as outlined in the sustainability plan.”
At least some of the credit for the move went to Public Advocate and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio, who has made the threats to close the hospital into a campaign issue, and even got arrested during a rally for the hospital.
On Saturday, de Blasio called the ruling a major defeat for SUNY Downstate and a major victory for health care.
The decision brought relief and joy to patients and staff members at LICH.
“Everybody said good morning with big smiles,” Barbara Scott told CBS 2’s Steve Langford.
Hospital staff said that the mood inside of the hospital had improved since the judge’s decision was handed down.
“I’m a neo-natal nurse. Right now we don’t have any patients but we did have security outside our door and they’re not there any more and we’re thrilled,” said Laura Wolf.
Susan Raboy said she was on her death bed at LICH.
“I have sepsis throughout my body and I was rushed to LICH – two years ago actually today. I head the Patients for LICH group, and we have been fighting nonstop to our last breath to make sure it stays open, so this is a major victory,” she said.
While SUNY Downstate has said it cannot afford to keep LICH open, de Blasio told WCBS 880’s Monica Miller that a lack of available health care is putting residents at risk.
“It is actually appropriate for government to spend money on health care, and if it means we have to spend some extra money in the meantime to keep this hospital open so we can figure out a financially viable long-term solution, that’s a fair use of taxpayer money,” de Blasio said.
De Blasio and Raboy were joined at the news conference by members of the New York State Nurses’ Association. They all said the fight isn’t over, and they want LICH to stay for the long term.
De Blasio also last month called for a “super authority” to save LICH and other failing hospitals. The Brooklyn Health Authority would be focused on saving four hospitals – LICH, Interfaith Medical Center, Brookdale University Hospital, and Wyckoff Medical Center.
The authority would allocate federal funding to the hospitals, and allow portions of the health facilities’ real estate to be sold in order to generate proceeds to pump back into the hospitals.
After the hospital got the green light for closure from the state, a judge issued a temporary restraining order that de Blasio said would have called for financial penalties if SUNY Downstate closed LICH.
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