LICH reportedly shutting this weekend

July 18, 2013 Heather Chin
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Long Island College Hospital (LICH) medical staff is reporting being told by administrators that the hospital, located at 339 Hicks Street in Cobble Hill, will be stripped of its equipment and patients this weekend (July 20-21) and that the last day of surgery is Friday, July 19.

Such an action would be in further violation of state and borough Supreme Court orders to halt any closure of or reduction in services at the 156-year-old hospital, which is owned and operated by the State University of New York (SUNY) and SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

An emergency press conference is being held at 1:30 p.m. today in front of LICH to discover and discuss what exactly is going on at the hospital.

According to Eliza Bates, spokesperson for the NYS Nurses Association, “SUNY Downstate management is going to all floors of the hospital, telling nurses that patients need to be moved out by tomorrow. Social workers are trying to find spaces [in neighboring hospitals] to move them and the patients include a baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit whose mother has said clearly she doesn’t want baby moved.”

Bates added that “this is pretty clearly in contempt of the restraining order telling them that they cannot close the hospital.

“It looks like they are trying to padlock the hospital by Monday,” she went on. “The operating room has been informed that all surgeries scheduled after Monday need to be transferred to SUNY Downstate or at [Downstate’s urgent care center at] Bay Ridge, and there are no outpatient services.”

Also of concern is the fact that New York City is in the middle of a heat wave, said NYSNA Executive Director Jill Furillo, who spoke to this publication as she was on her way to LICH.

“We want to find out what’s going on and who is ordering [staff to prepare to close],” said Furillo. “We think patients are at risk in Brooklyn. This is the worst heat wave in 20 years in the city and ambulances are being taken away with people with heat related diseases. . . This is the worst time ever to be closing down that hospital which needs to be open for patients.”

Councilmember Stephen Levin chimed in, noting that “SUNY is not above the law [and] if they attempt to shutter Long Island College Hospital this weekend, as reports show, they will be doing so illegally.”

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