Officials on Tuesday cut the ceremonial ribbon on the new Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospital, the city’s first new public hospital since 1982.
The hospital — a part of what is now known as NYC Health + Hospital/South Brooklyn Health, but was formerly known as Coney Island Hospital — was built with withstanding in mind, and includes a storm-resilient design, a flood-proof Emergency Department, private patient rooms and state-of-the-art equipment.
Hospital leaders and Big Apple bigwigs alike hope the new hospital, funded by $923 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will provide “Excellence For All,” while serving South Brooklyn and its neighboring communities.
“Growing up, my family used what was then Coney Island Hospital,” said NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD. “To see it now rebuilt as this amazing place is such a wonderful thing. I feel a tremendous sense of pride that the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospital is ready to open and welcome patients as part of NYC Health + Hospitals.”
The FEMA funding used to build out the new hospital also included upgrades for the rest of the health care campus, including a four-foot wall to withstand a 500-year storm and flood-resilient power, heating, cooling, and water systems. Meanwhile, the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospital features a new emergency department double the size of the current space and located on the second floor to sustain flooding and ensure continuity of care during natural disasters.
The new hospital is a major component of the extensive process to repair and protect the health care campus, officials said, after sustaining significant damage from Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
“Today marks a significant moment in New York City with the opening of NYC Health + Hospital’s Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospital,” said Mayor Eric Adams. “Named after an icon who embodied the values of our public hospital system — providing equitable health care to all with dignity and respect — now, nearly 875,000 New Yorkers will have access to world-class health care in a modern, state-of-the-art facility.”
Front and center at the ribbon cutting was Clara Spera, granddaughter of Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg. Spera said her family is delighted to see the new hospital being named after the beloved “daughter of Brooklyn.”
“Our family is delighted that the new South Brooklyn hospital is being named for my grandmother, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and are excited that this world-class hospital will soon open its doors to the public,” Spera said in a statement.
Spera also spoke of the importance of public institutions, like schools and local libraries, in her grandmother’s upbringing.
“It feels only fitting that an important public institution such as this one, bear her name,” she told the crowd. “Moreover, my grandmother deeply believed that rights are meaningless unless they can be enjoyed by all, not just the privileged few. This could not be more true than in the context of healthcare.”
Patients, staff and visitors to the new hospital will be welcomed by an impressive bronze statue of Ginsburg that presides over the building’s lobby. Designed by Gillie and Marc Schattner and donated to the hospital by City Point, the sculpture is 7 feet 2 inches high and weighs 650 pounds.
NYC Health + Hospitals/South Brooklyn Health CEO Svetlana Lipyanskaya said Tuesday’s ribbon cutting marked the end of one chapter and the beginning of an exciting new one.
“The Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospital is not just a cutting-edge facility equipped with the latest technology, it is fundamentally a place of hope, a place of healing and of progress for our community,” she said at the official unveiling. “It is an acknowledgment of the vibrancy of the people who live in south Brooklyn and our firm commitment to their healthcare for the next 100 years.”
Other amenities of the new hospital include: a surgical suite comprised of eight state-of-the-art operating rooms
Robotic surgery, an endoscopy suite, inpatient dialysis, 80 private medical-surgical beds, 60 behavioral health beds with panoramic views of Brooklyn and the New York City skyline, diagnostic and interventional radiology, clinical laboratories and more.
The site is also well prepared for any other potential pandemics, officials said, as design for the new hospital continued through the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic — giving hospital officials the chance to get ahead.
“NYC Health + Hospitals/South Brooklyn Health’s new Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospital is giving what our Coney Island, Gravesend, Sheepshead Bay, and so many other South Brooklyn neighborhoods deserve in the way of high-quality, state-of-the-art healthcare,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “Our public health system has long been a champion of quality, affordable healthcare for people that have historically lacked access. It’s an honor to be a partner of a system that truly understands what it means for health care to be a basic human right.”
Reynoso added on Tuesday that the hospital — and the funding it received — show that, in another crisis like Sandy, there will always be a home for hope on the southern end of Brooklyn.
“Coney Island the folks in south Brooklyn will always have a home, no matter the circumstance, no matter the disaster, no matter the emergency,” he said. “And that’s what Brooklyn is about, coming together as one, showing love and making sure that those type of circumstances never happen.”
The Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospital will begin welcoming patients on Sunday, May 7.
Additional reporting by Paul Frangipane