BEDFORD – STUYVESANT - Protesters turned up at Borough Hall in a fight to save two Brooklyn hospitals that are on the brink of closure.
Demonstrators called on the state to approve a restructuring plan for Interfaith Medical Center in Bed-Stuy, and to keep Cobble Hill's Long Island College Hospital open for good.
IMC had a Thursday deadline to submit a closure plan after filing for bankruptcy last December, but officials also submitted another restructuring plan in hopes that the state Health Department won't force them to shut down. Nurses say they are concerned about their patients and their future access to care; two out of every five patients at IMC are HIV-positive.
On Thursday, a judge once again ordered LICH to continue its services at the same levels as last week, but SUNY Downstate has shown no sign of backing down from its plans to shutter LICH.
More than 600 workers have been put on paid administrative leave. Ambulance service was canceled last month and there are less than a dozen patients left at the hospital.
Public advocate and mayoral hopeful Bill de Blasio released a report Thursday that shows 250,000 Brooklyn residents would be forced to travel much farther for help in the event of a medical emergency if both IMC and LICH were not available.
Community leaders say they will not stop protesting until state health officials find a solution to keep Brooklyn's hospitals open.