Top Story #5: Fight for BK hospitals

The LICH saga began in January when SUNY Downstate tried to shut down the hospital after claiming it was losing millions each month.

The LICH saga began in January when SUNY Downstate tried to shut down the hospital after claiming it was losing millions each month. (12/27/13)

BROOKLYN - News 12 Brooklyn is counting down the top stories of the borough of 2013 as voted by our viewers. Coming in at No. 5 is the fight to save Brooklyn hospitals.

Long Island College Hospital and Interfaith Medical Center have been struggling to stay open all year long, but community members say they are not going down without a fight.

The LICH saga began in January when SUNY Downstate initially tried to shut down the Cobble Hill hospital, claiming it was losing millions of dollars each month. A judge put a stop to the closure and the hospital continued to operate. The struggle continued, though, as ambulance service was off and on, which prompted more rallies and protests.

Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio was part of the fight and even arrested for the cause.

This month, SUNY Downstate officials decided to delay their plans to sell LICH to a real estate developer. The board will continue to look at more proposals from potential bidders.

A similar situation occurred at Interfaith Medical Center in Bed-Stuy. The hospital was also set to close due to officials claiming it was losing money. Interfaith was forced to file for bankruptcy in December 2012. Community members and staffers held numerous rallies, vigils and protests, saying the hospital is vital because it serves a number of psychiatric patients.

Days ago, the state announced that it will fund Interfaith through March 7 of 2014, keeping the hospital afloat for now.

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