Could Southern Brooklyn get another shot at Victory?
Neighborhood leaders convened on March 8 to demand the restoration of ambulance services to the former Victory Memorial Hospital — reduced to an overnight ward called SUNY Downstate at Bay Ridge in 2008 after a two-year battle to prevent the facility from closing completely — arguing that Hurricane Sandy and the flu epidemic proved that the area urgently needs another emergency room.
“The time for talking is over. We need action now,” said Community Board 11 chairman Bill Guarinello at the press conference at the BRAVO Ambulance Center at 86th Street and Seventh Avenue in Dyker Heights, just six blocks from the medical center.
Guarinello argued that super storm Sandy, which shuttered Coney Island Hospital, left urgent care facilities at Maimonides and Lutheran hospitals swollen to the bursting point — a problem that will only get worse with the impending closure of Long Island College Hospital.
“Just look at the state of our present receiving hospitals. The emergency rooms are a disaster and there are no beds during crises,” said Guarinello.
Councilman Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) echoed Guarinello’s sentiments, and added that Brooklyn’s exploding population and large senior community necessitates another fully operational 911 care center.
“It makes no absolutely sense for us to continue cutting hospital beds while Brooklyn continues to grow by leaps and bounds,” Gentile said. “We are playing a shell game with people’s lives and walking a tight rope without a net.”