Bring them your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free (of asthma) — Victory Memorial Hospital is not dead yet.
Sure, the Dyker Heights institution declared bankruptcy and has been recommended for closure by a state commission, but hospital officials and their allies want everyone to know that Victory is still at hand.
“I have an important announcement to make,” Community Board 11 Chairman William Guarinello said to open a meeting last Tuesday night. “Victory is alive — I can’t say they are doing well — but they are moving in that direction [of doing well] and they need our support.”
Guarinello waxed poetic about the hospital.
“You can ask the ambulance drivers and you can ask the nursing staff. Believe me, they will tell you that the hospital is still running.”
Victory’s bankruptcy — and subsequent closure recommendation — came after reports that the financially strapped hospital gave a huge severance package to a departing executive.
At the time, a spokesman for the 254-bed hospital said there would be no changes in patient care at Victory — but all the naysaying about the hospital’s finances and future has made some patients weary and has resulted in less business.
“There has been a noticeable decline in patients,” said hospital spokeswoman Cynthia Neglia. “People think we are closed and we have been losing patients — so get the word out.”
Community Board 11 District Manager Howard Feuer did just that, telling everyone who would listen about his own personal experience at Victory.
“I had eye surgery there recently,” Feuer said, “and I haven’t been fitted for a Seeing Eye dog yet!”
Residents and elected officials have been using all available political channels to keep the hospital open, but Guarinello reminded them that they still needed to vote with their feet.
“If you want to see it closed,” Guarinello said. “Don’t go, and it will be.”
©2007 Community News Group
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