The justice made modifications to a restraining order against SUNY stating that LICH must meet the same staffing levels it had as of February 20, 2013.
Meanwhile, news broke that hospital administrators were eliminating ambulance and emergency services. Baynes scheduled a close-door meeting with litigators in the case, but has delayed a ruling on if the move was legal.
“A dire situation is developing at LICH where we have seen voluntary resignations from the hospital’s medical doctor, Pharmacy Department supervisors, the ER manager and our Chief Nursing Officers and Deputy Chief Nursing Officer,” said Dr. Michael Lucchesi, chief medical officer at LICH. “Thus, ambulances will be diverted from LICH’s Emergency Department by the FDNY and patients from critical care units will be transferred to other hospitals.”
“We are astounded that in the face of clear order to maintain operations at LICH, Downstate management has issued directives to divert ambulances and transfer patients from LICH,” said Dr. Toomas Sorra, president of Concerned Physicians of LICH. “LICH’s emergency department is safe, open, fully staffed and ready to receive patients.”
Since the diversions, Methodist Hospital in Park Slope and Brooklyn Hospital Center in Fort Greene have been posting significant increases in emergency patients.
“LICH nurses, doctors and caregivers are continuing to provide the very best care to patients, but SUNY is trying to sabotage our hospital at every turn,” said Jill Furillo, RN executive director of the New York State Nurses Association.
A rally was held on Saturday in support of keeping LICH a full-service hospital following news of the decision to eliminate emergency services. But not everyone was hopeful that the elected officials who attended the rally could stop the closure.
“This is a state issue,” said Roy Sloane, president of the Cobble Hill Association. “I just don’t know if they have the juice to get this done.”