If Long Island College Hospital goes through with its plan to close its maternity ward, other Brooklyn facilities may not be able to handle the resulting baby boom, a Brooklyn Paper investigation revealed.
Last week, LICH announced it would seek permission from the state to close its money-losing obstetrics department, which delivered 2,800 children last year — but to win the state’s OK, the Cobble Hill medical center must provide a plan for where all those expectant mothers could turn.
And that’s about as easy as getting a man pregnant.
New York Methodist Hospital and Maimonides Medical Center told The Brooklyn Paper that their obstetrics departments are already operating at capacity.
“We are not in a position to accommodate a higher volume of maternity cases,” said Eileen Tynion, a spokeswoman for Maimonides, the Borough Park hospital that delivered 7,207 newborns, more than any other hospital in the state last year.
There’s also no room at the inn at Park Slope’s Methodist Hospital.
“We just expanded to meet demand and we are already at capacity,” said Lyn Hill, a spokeswoman for the hospital, which delivered more than 5,000 babies last year.
Woodhull Hospital, a city-run facility in Bushwick, said it could handle some LICH mothers, though spokeswoman Lynn Schulman declined to say how many.
“Last year, we had 2,000 births and this year we expect 2,200,” she said.
Brooklyn Hospital, the Fort Greene medical center that only recently emerged from bankruptcy, declined to comment, and calls to Lutheran Medical Center were not returned.
Officials from Long Island College Hospital announced the drastic measure of eliminating their maternity wing as part of a restructuring to reduce the hospital’s operating deficit and pay down its debt.
The belt-tightening would also involve the sale of additional property around the hospital’s historic campus at Amity and Henry streets.
The moves come after the recent closing of its unprofitable rape counseling center and the ouster of CEO Rita Battles, who was fired in a disagreement over the restructuring with Continuum Health Partners, the Manhattan-based company that owns LICH.
The possible loss of a birthing center at LICH raised the hackles of local elected officials, who rallied outside the hospital on Wednesday afternoon to denounce the proposed closing of the obstetrics department, which Continuum says loses $11 million per year.
State Sen. Marty Connor (D–Brooklyn Heights), whose colleagues could force state hearings over the plan to close the birthing wing, called on Continuum to provide honest numbers.
“The service is too important to the community to allow it to close,” he said.
©2008 Community News Group
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