A consortium of healthcare workers, elected officials, and administration from Maimonides Medical Center broke ground on what will soon become the hospital system’s first freestanding emergency department — the site of the former Victory Memorial Hospital on the border of Dyker Heights and Bay Ridge.
“Turning the former Victory Memorial site into a modern emergency care center is a huge win for the communities of Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst and Dyker Heights,” said Maimonides Medical Center President and CEO Kenneth Gibbs at the June 25 groundbreaking ceremony. “This groundbreaking marks another key investment we are making in Brooklyn to better serve our neighbors and improve outcomes for those who need emergency care.”
Maimonides is leasing the site at the intersection of 92nd Street and Seventh Avenue from SUNY Downstate Medical Center, which purchased Victory Memorial Hospital in 2008, two years after its closure, and recoined the location as SUNY Downstate Medical Center at Bay Ridge.
The hospital was only used for comprehensive ambulatory care, which did not require overnight stays, after SUNY Downstate discontinued offering urgent and laboratory care at the site. SUNY Downstate later credited the purchase as a partial cause for its poor financial situation in 2013.
Under Maimonides’ stewardship, the hospital will be transformed into a 15,000-square-foot emergency department that is expected to serve more than 16,000 patients in its first year of operation and will be staffed year-round by a team of approximately 75 healthcare professionals.
The June 25 groundbreaking came close to a week after area Councilmember Justin Brannan — who represents Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and parts of Bensonhurst — broke the news on Twitter, only hours after he teased an upcoming “game-changer” for his district.
“Having Maimonides [Medical Center] nearby has always been a great asset to Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights but having their modern emergency care center right here in our backyard at the former Victory Memorial site will be an absolute game-changer,” Brannan said in a statement issued after the groundbreaking ceremony.
On social media, the pol added that the medical center had a particularly special place in his heart. “I was born at @MaimonidesMC. When I was 23 they saved my life. When I got #COVID19, I went there too,” Brannan tweeted.
State Sen. Andrew Gounardes also attended the groundbreaking ceremony, as did a representative for Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus.
The forthcoming emergency department is expected to be a step forward for the old Victory Memorial site, which has a history of calamity.
In 1999, two patients were killed in their hospital room by one of their sons, and in 1970, a truck holding liquid oxygen being delivered to the hospital exploded outside, killing the driver, a bystander and injuring 40.
The hospital also settled a lawsuit in 1992 after allegedly giving a patient receiving emergency ulcer surgery HIV-tainted blood in 1986. The same doctor accused of the infectious blood transfusion faced criminal charges for allegedly killing two patients with his secretary around the time of the settlement.