NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In the latest court battle to keep Long Island College Hospital open in Brooklyn, ambulances once again have begun rolling on a limited basis.
As WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported Sunday, FDNY ambulances returned to the hospital Friday afternoon as mandated by court order. But SUNY Downstate Medical Center Dr. John Williams emphasized that the change does not mean LICH is back to being a full-service hospital.
“This is a very, very limited service,” he said.
Ambulances will only be transporting patients to LICH for the non-life-threatening conditions the emergency room there has been taking on this summer on a walk-in basis.
“This includes abdominal pain, flu, viral and flu like symptoms, strains, sprains, fractures, lacerations,” Williams said.
Williams said a patient’s best bet is just to go to a different hospital.
SUNY Downstate has said LICH is losing tens of millions of dollars a month. The hospital has been trying to close for months now.
But residents and staff – along with Public Advocate and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio – have been rallying in the streets and fighting in the courts to keep the hospital open.
Last month, the hospital was ordered to restore services to the levels where they stood prior to July 19 – the day the New York State Health Department approved closing the facility.
The judge also appointed an independent monitor to keep its eye on SUNY.
At least some of the credit for the move went 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.
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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