NYC Focus: Update on the Closing of St. Vincent's Hospital
The latest to close has been St. Vincent's in Manhattan. Yetta Kurland has been leading the fight to keep it open or, barring that, keeping a hospital at that site.
Here is her latest email:
Thank you for taking part in Friday's town hall on retaining a hospital for the lower west side of Manhattan. The event was a huge success. Almost four hundred New Yorkers met at the Hudson Guild to demand a hospital at the St. Vincent's site. Much of the three hour meeting was composed of residents speaking about how much St. Vincent's has meant to them, and how essential a full-service community hospital is to our city.
As we mourn the loss of St. Vincent's Hospital and express outrage at the way it was closed, it is essential that we realize that this has just begun. With a hospital full of infrastructure, thousands of highly skilled staff and hundreds of thousands of community members already in place, a community hospital on the St. Vincent's site is achievable. But it will take a concerted, organized community movement to win the battle in the courts of law and public opinion that lay ahead. We do not need a massive new hospital, we simply are asking that we work to renovate the existing structure using adaptive reuse and minimal costs to ensure a hospital with the same level of care in the same location, run in a financially responsible way.
As we saw this weekend in Times Square, the west side of Manhattan is constantly at risk. Emergency facilities could be quickly overwhelmed in the event of a crisis. A hospital at the St. Vincent's site is vital to the security of our city.
We are pursuing a multi-pronged strategy to ensure that the west side has access to full service emergency and hospital care. Civil Rights Attorneys Yetta Kurland and Thomas Shanahan are leading the legal battle, with efforts in both state and federal court.
There are also significant steps we can all take in the immediate to let our elected officials know we must have a hospital at the St. Vincent's site.
To keep everyone informed, we've started a blog at http://DemandaHospital.blogspot.com/ - link. It's got a lot of the information we discussed at the town hall on Friday, and will be updated as things progress. Please visit the blog and comment with your suggestions and stories. Also we ask that you take a moment to forward it on to your family, neighbors, co-workers and any one else who cares about the health and safety of New Yorkers.
It is essential that we keep the pressure on our elected officials, who will have to part of any solution to this crisis. You can find some key people to contact and all their information on the Demand A Hospital blog at http://demandahospital.blogspot.com/2010/05/contact-your-elected-officials-and_01.html - link.
So, the struggle continues. We'll be sure to keep you posted.
Yours in solidarity,
If we want adequate hospitals in NYC, we need to be prepared to fight for them, because Bloomberg has made it clear he is willing to close anything down he can.