SUNY To LICH – ‘Drop Dead’

Update: The Times reports that Judge Johnny Lee Baynes, who earlier issued a temporary restraining order against SUNY’s attempt to close LICH, today, in response to complaints that SUNY was denying LICH essential medical staff, ordered that SUNY “should maintain staffing on par with what it was before SUNY Downstate Medical Center, which operates it, first moved to close it earlier this year.” The Times article indicates that the LICH staff had been told that the ER could no longer accept patients brought by ambulance because the ER wasn’t sufficiently staffed to handle any other than walk in patients. The Times quotes Eliza Bates, a spokeswoman for the nurses’ association, as saying “the judge’s order should prevent that.”

Michelle Green of the NYS Nurses Association tells BHB:

Long Island College Hospital is open for care, and nurses, caregivers, and doctors continue to provide the very best care to Brooklyn patients. But SUNY appears intent on closing this vital Brooklyn hospital. We’re glad that Judge Baynes is taking SUNY’s actions—and the impact these actions could have on Brooklyn patients—very seriously. We will continue to do whatever it takes to keep LICH and all Brooklyn hospitals open for care.

BHB has obtained an email sent out by Dr. Tom Sorra, leader of the LICH Concerned Physicians group about the current situation:

I’m sending out a very brief update on the rapidly-developing situation at LICH –
a press release with more details will be forthcoming tomorrow, which I will send to all.

The attorneys for Concerned Physicians, NYSNA and 1199 were in court today and made a persuasive argument about SUNY/DMD’s violations of the previous TRO (restraining order) issued.
The court set a hearing for contempt and obliged SUNY/DMC to maintain staffing levels as they were in February 2013.

SUNY/DMC ignored the court order, and several hours later sent the following email to all LICH MD’s, which is clearly in violation of the court order – claiming that they are doing this because of “an unsafe situation with MD’s and staff leaving”.

This is a blatant lie!
There is no unsafe situation, and SUNY/DMC officials lies need to be exposed!

Concerned Physicians and other members of the LICH Coalition have been in meetings and on conference calls this evening to discuss this situation and will keep you all advised of developments as they occur.

Please call your elected officials, press and other contacts to spread the word –

the criminal actions of SUNY/DMC against LICH need to be stopped!

Toomas M. Sorra, MD
Concerned Physicians of LICH

Dear Medical Staff,
University Hospital of Brooklyn (UHB) of the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center continues to make good faith efforts to staff the Long Island College Hospital and maintain its patient services. Attempts to replace medical, nursing, and management staff have been on-going. However, we have not successfully recruited personnel for key vacancies, either through locum tenems or permanent recruitment. Due to the departure of critical staff that cannot be replaced in a timely manner, we are taking steps to ensure patient health, safety, and welfare. We cannot allow the public to have an expectation of services that are not possible for us to provide.

We request that you discuss other options for inpatient care and emergency services with your patients. The Central Brooklyn campus of University Hospital of Brooklyn will facilitate patient transfers should you choose to do so.

Emergency Services

To that end, the emergency room will not accept ambulance patients effective June 20, 2013 at 6:00 A.M. FDNY – EMS has been notified that the UHB Long Island College Hospital campus of SUNY Downstate will be on ambulance diversion for emergency room services. Walk in patients will receive medical screening and stabilizing treatment. If further care is needed, patients will be transferred to another area hospital. Patients using the EMS ambulance services will be taken to the nearest hospital with appropriate resources. Hospitals in Brooklyn have been notified of the diversion.

Please be assured that all efforts will be made to assist you in the transfer of patients to University Hospital or to the facility of the patients’ choice. Current inpatients will also be notified in writing and medical leadership will be available for further discussion. For further information and assistance, please call Mr. George Caralis at (718) 270-4293, Mr. Michael Miller at (718) 780-4651 or Dr. Michael Lucchesi at (347) 424-9084.

This dispatch in from a BHB reader:

As of tonight ambulances are not allowed to bring patients to LICH – the hospital is on permanent diversion. Is it closing?

While there’s no word on whether LICH is closing, sources confirm to BHB that SUNY has instructed EMT to not send patients to the hospital as of 6 AM tomorrow (6/20) morning.


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  • Remsen Street Dweller

    See my comment under the Open Thread entitled,

    “How it Feels to be Flat out Lied to and Treated like a Fool or What To Do about the SUNY Downstate Board of Trustees”

  • Sylvester

    Time for the nurses association to call Judge Baynes.

  • gbkm

    done. In court today. he heard & got the message clear.

  • Remsen Street Dweller

    Friends and Neighbors – LICH needs your support this Saturday! The fight to save our hospital continues, and is at a critical juncture right now.

    Against the odds, we won the first round, when SUNY withdrew its closure plan for LICH. But make no mistake: right now, LICH is again in very serious danger of closing. Despite their public claims that they want to find a solution to keep the hospital running, SUNY is in fact still trying to shut down LICH and sell it off for real estate development.

    SUNY is pretending they are searching for a white knight buyer to operate the hospital, but the process is a sham – and in fact they are still trying to close LICH. Meanwhile, Governor Cuomo is absent on this vital issue, leaving everything up to SUNY and the Department of Health (DOH), who want the hospital closed.

    Our neighborhoods need our community hospital. We need the vital care provided at LICH – and there are also thousands of jobs at stake. Governor Cuomo oversees SUNY and the DOH. It’s time for Governor Cuomo to stop neglecting this issue, thereby allowing SUNY to close LICH.

    That’s why we are once again rallying to save LICH. Join moms, dads, babies, kids, LICH workers, and concerned members of the community for another Toddler Speakout and Stroller March. This Saturday, June 22nd at 10am, we will gather at the LICH playground, then march to Borough Hall, to put Governor Cuomo on

    Please forward this widely and please also RSVP to Liz Holden at so we have a sense of how many people are coming. We will again have some
    games and fun stuff for the kids. Bring signs too! Thank you.