Workers hold rally in support of Peninsula Hospital

April 4, 2012 7:20:23 PM PDT
Workers rallied at a popular but financially hospital that is set to be shut down.

Peninsula Hospital in Queens is bankrupt and floundering but now has a potential financial savior.

More than 100 people rallied outside the State Health Commissioner's office in Lower Manhattan Wednesday night, to protest the planned closing of Peninsula Hospital in Far Rockaway.

"People without this hospital are going to die," Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder said.

The 104-year-old hospital was ordered to stop admitting patients in February after the lab failed an inspection due to expired blood products.

Now, more than 100,000 people who live in the Rockaways will all have to go to Saint John's, the only remaining hospital on the peninsula.

"We're five minutes away from the hospital if there's a drowning on the beach," said Helen Fanning, a hospital employee.

"In the case of a heart attack or stroke where seconds count, you need a community hospital," said Jennifer McMann, a hospital nurse.

The president of a Chicago-based hospital group has presented a $20 million plan to keep Peninsula open, but the bankruptcy trustee has not said publicly if she will consider it.

"We have a large population of asthmatic children here, he was saved by the hospital," said Margarita Aviles, a former hospital employee.

Hundreds of hospital employees will lose their jobs if Peninsula closes and many parents say they'll have to travel further and wait longer for care.

"I have four children, I just know sitting there at St. John's it's going to be longer, way longer," said Mike Smith, Rockaways resident.

Peninsula Hospital is still accepting emergency walk-in patients and its clinics are still open.

Unless the rescue plan is approved, the hospital will close for good on Friday.

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