Interfaith Medical Center plans to close

July 31, 2013 7:09:28 PM PDT
Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn has asked for permission to close from a bankruptcy court.

The hospital said it was notifying the state Labor Department of its employee layoffs Wednesday.

In the middle of Bed-Stuyvesant, Interfaith Medical Center has served the city's poor since the turn of the last century.

But in a matter of months, it'll take its last breath.

"Where else can we take our children? If the doctor's office is closed, where else can we go?" a resident said.

The sun has been setting on Interfaith for months after its management, saddled with debt, filed for bankruptcy protection.

The state forced to pump millions into the private hospital just to keep the lights on, but it never stopped hemorrhaging cash.

So this week state officials ruled they'd stop their funding.

"It's unconscionable," said Sue Graziano, an Interfaith nurse.

Layoff notices would be sent to nurses like Sue Graziano, and are due out next week.

"This is America. If you don't have great decent care by wonderful caring staff, where else you going to have that?" Graziano said.

The Brooklyn healthcare crisis has been the subject of countless protests lately, demonstrators fighting for the survival not just of Interfaith, but also of Long Island College Hospital in Cobble Hill.

LICH owned by the state university system, which is trying to sell it.

State officials say the two situations are vastly different.

But Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who's running for mayor, says the impact on their communities will be the same.

"I don't know why the State of New York isn't trying to find a solution but I can tell you one thing, if we lose Interfaith and we lose LICH, there's going to be a quarter of a million Brooklynites who have a lot less access to healthcare," de Blasio said.

People like Shakeha Lovell, who lives right across the street from Interfaith. And can't imagine what she'll do without it.

"In case of an emergency where can I take my children? Either they die on the way to an available hospital, or we keep Interfaith open," said Shakeha Lovell, a resident.

The hospital will begin the shutdown process on August 15th. That's when they will stop taking patients and will divert ambulances to other hospitals.

Surgeries will end on August 22nd and the emergency department will shut down on September 14th. Any remaining patients will be transferred to other hospitals the following day.

Outpatient programs will cease on October 15th, and the hospital will shut its doors for good on November 14th when they end their detoxification and rehabilitation programs.

Interfaith Medical Center says that the state ordered the closure and that they had no time to figure out how to keep the hospital open.

There were signs of trouble for the medical center back in December 2012 when the hospital filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.