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March and Rally in Brooklyn: solidarity against hospital closures

Mahogany Linebarger | 7/25/2013, 3:13 a.m.

On July 24 a march and rally was held in Brooklyn to bring attention to the healthcare crisis and the growing number of hospitals being threatened with closure and funding cuts in New York City.

Hospital officials and supporters gathered wearing black as they marched across the Brooklyn Bridge from Cadman Plaza, carrying coffins. The coffins were carried to symbolize the impact of the health care crisis, the limitations and death that hospitals closures are causing.

This summer, New York City has seen a number of hospital closings or news of closings threats. These news reports have sparked concern and worry from New Yorkers in various boroughs. Brooklyn in particular has been facing an increasing amount of closures and threats.

SUNY has been trying to close Long Island hospital for some time now, citing things like staff disparities. Earlier this summer, residents, staff and patients gathered in solidarity at Interfaith Medical Center after the hospital filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in December.

The march ended in a rally at Foley Square; where in addition to supporters, nurses of the New York State Nurses Association, caregivers of United Healthcare Workers East, doctors, patients and elected leaders came together to speak about the issues.

This march and rally is in the wake of the ruling that ordered SUNY to keep LICH functioning at its current level. On Monday, Appellate Division Judge, Robert Miller, ordered downstate SUNY, which oversees LICH to keep the hospital open.

SUNY downstate had been pleading with the courts to allow for the closure plans to continue but the courts rejected. The ruling was a “clear vindication for the community,” said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.

The hospital closings have left low-income families, people of color and people that are uninsured living in the surrounding communities in desperate positions. By limiting their access to healthcare and service there has been an increase in ER waiting periods and a decrease their access to full service facilities.

Those in charge of organizing the march across the Brooklyn Bridge and the rally at Foley Square and their supporters are calling for both quality healthcare services and quality jobs.