Brooklyn- State Senator Martin J. Golden (R-C, Brooklyn), Congressman Vito Fossella (R-13th District), and City Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-43rd District), today are announcing that the New York State Department of Health has granted a reprieve that will maintain an operational emergency room at Victory Memorial Hospital for an undetermined amount of time, beyond the planned closure scheduled for February 1, 2008 as part of the final recommendations of the Berger Commission.
The lawmakers are calling the Department of Health’s decision an immediate win for the entire community, but are reminding all that the struggle to maintain a permanent emergency room at Victory Memorial Hospital goes on. The decision made by the Department of Health to keep the ER operating is a recognition of the arguments made by Golden, Fossella and Gentile.
The lawmakers are filing an Article 78 lawsuit charging that the State’s decision to close the hospital and reject an application to maintain ER and acute care services at the site were "arbitrary and capricious." Golden, Fossella and Gentile maintain in the lawsuit that the closure of this emergency room will endanger the health and safety of the community and would jeopardize the 17,000 emergency room admissions if they were to be redirected.
Senator Marty Golden stated, "This decision is an important win in an ongoing situation to save Victory Memorial Hospital, in that the emergency room has been granted a temporary reprieve and health care continues at an appropriate level. But the battle to keep open the emergency room permanently continues and for the good of the community, I will not rest as long as the health and safety of the neighborhood is in jeopardy. Since the Berger Commission announced their plan to close Victory Memorial Hospital, I have spoken out against this plan because it is plain wrong and will create a health care crisis in Brooklyn."
City Councilman Vincent Gentile stated, "This is not only a victory for Victory Memorial Hospital, but for the people of Southwest Brooklyn who have come to rely on it. I am gratified to see that the Department of Health recognizes the danger to health and safety our community would face if Victory were suddenly closed. This is not the end, but it keeps this vital emergency room safety net in place as we continue to fight to protect the health of our neighborhoods."
Attorneys Michael J. Petersen and Anthony Xanthakis are representing Senator Golden, Congressman Vito Fossella and Councilman Vincent Gentile in the lawsuit. An Article 78 is a type of lawsuit used to challenge the actions of government agencies. An Article 78 goes before the New York Supreme Court where a Judge will review the actions of the agency and has the authority to reverse the agency’s decision.