Golden, Fossella, Gentile And Brooklyn Community Call State Department Of Health Decision To Close Victory Memorial Hospital Wrong

Martin J. Golden

November 13, 2007

Brooklyn- State Senator Martin Golden (R-C, Brooklyn), Congressman Vito Fossella (R-C, 13th District), and City Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Brooklyn), today issued the following statement at a press conference outside the emergency room of Victory Memorial Hospital, located at 699-92nd Street in Brooklyn, urging the New York State Department of Health to overturn their decision to close the emergency room at this site.

"The New York State Department of Health’s failure to approve an emergency room for this location will put the health and safety of all citizens at great risk. This emergency room, which will be closed because of this misguided decision, registers more than 17,000 emergency room visits annually. So we ask, where will these patients go?

Despite the community’s continued efforts to keep operating an emergency room at this location, the State Health Department have failed to listen to the people. They have failed to hear the fears we have continued to address, that waiting times at the three closest hospitals, Lutheran Medical Center, Maimonides Medical Center and Coney Island Hospital, are often very lengthy. And emergency service ambulances are often diverted to Victory Memorial Hospital when these area emergency rooms are operating at capacity. Once again, we ask, where will the patients go?

The severity of this problem includes the horrific reality that without the closeness and proximity of this emergency room within our neighborhood, ambulances and citizens will have to travel greater distances, encountering both regular traffic, plus traffic congestion caused by the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge reconstruction project. The drive time, which is already lengthy, will be increased by several minutes from the center of Bay Ridge to Lutheran, Maimonides or Coney Island hospitals, if this emergency room should close. We all understand that in an emergency situation, several minutes can mean the difference between life and death.

Additionally, exisiting OB-GYN services in Southwest Brooklyn are inadequate to handle the 2000 deliveries that take place at Victory Memorial Hospital annually. Where are the expectant mothers to go?

The Department of Health has had the ability to override the Berger Commission’s recommendations, when knowingly, a recommendation puts the health and safety of the community effected at risk. The Department of Health needs to be responsive and exercise this right immediately. The Department of Health and the Governor must stand up for the people of this community and do the right thing. Closing the emergency room here is a misguided decision and all citizens will be in danger if it does not continue to operate."