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SUNY Downstate Will Appeal Temporary Restraining Order Against Closing Long Island College Hospital

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TWC News: SUNY Downstate Will Appeal Temporary Restraining Order Against Closing Long Island College Hospital
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The battle continues this weekend over the future of Brooklyn's Long Island College Hospital. NY1's Mahsa Saeidi filed the following report.

The battle over the future of Brooklyn's Long Island College Hospital had emotions running high Saturday night. 

"We're all feeling upset, is everybody upset, or is it just me?  That's right everybody is upset," said one LICH nurse.

"So I just called the police because there was an ambulance here to pick up one patient we don't know from where," said one LICH doctor.

The state Health Department approved a plan to close the Cobble Hill hospital earlier this week. That meant emergency room patients would stop being admitted to LICH Monday, and all patients would be discharged by July 28.

But on Friday, amidst protests, a temporary restraining order was issued, blocking the closure.

Dr. Robert Levey, LICH's Chief of General Internal Medicine, says that meant ambulances were not to be diverted away, and patients were not to be transferred. So, he was surprised when he got a call from the Chairman of Medicine at SUNY Downstate. 

"He told me that they wanted me to start the discharge process, or transfer process of three or four patients that are still in the hospital," Levey said.

Dr. Levey says he does not plan to transfer any patients. 

"It's mainly about the TRO, obviously this is an attempt by them to empty the hospital in preparation to close the hospital," Levey said.

Officials at SUNY Downstate, which runs the facility, say they served a notice of intent to appeal that temporary restraining order, thereby automatically staying its implementation. Bottom line, they're moving forward with their plans to take this hospital off life support. 

"Last year we had over 100,000 visits in our outpatient department, we had 19,000 admissions, we had 60,000 ER visits. Where are those patients going to go? They’re not building any new hospitals," Levey said.

SUNY Downstate officials say the closure is necessary because the hospital is losing $15 million a month. Dr. Levey disputed that, saying those figures have not been proven.

He said, as of Saturday night, there were 15 patients left on medical service. Just exactly what their future is depends on the determination of the TRO, which remains to be seen.

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