'Stroller march' in Cobble Hill
By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
On April 3, a Long Island College Hospital (LICH) ambulance team and cardiology doctors and nurses saved the life of a13-year-old Brooklyn boy who had collapsed in his Boerum Hill classroom, in full cardiac arrest.
Parents say that events like this are why they gathered their babies and toddlers on Saturday morning to rally and hold a “stroller march” to save LICH, threatened with closure after more than 150 years in Cobble Hill.
"As the mother of a young child who was born safely at LICH after a complicated pregnancy, and who has visited the ER on several occasions, I am acutely aware of how important it is to have accessible emergency and ob-gyn/maternity care for the families in the neighborhood," said Brooklyn mom Liz Holden.
Holden said that studies have shown that if LICH were to close, neighboring hospitals would not have the capacity to deal with the overflow, in particular for maternity services.
"This would pose a major public health crisis, and people could literally die as a result," she said. "It's wildly irresponsible of Gov. Cuomo to let this closing go forward, and even more of an affront that this valuable neighborhood resource would be replaced with a giant condo development that would overextend the already crowded schools."
"Many of us have either had a baby at LICH, plan to have a baby at LICH or have taken our kids to LICH for medical care," said mom Claire Tuck, one of the rally organizers. " LICH is now seriously threatened as the state of New York wants to sell off this property and turn it into a high-rise condo. Governor Cuomo can save our hospital -- or close it.”
Parents and children held a sign-making session before the march. “I have three LICH babies – and their all accident prone,” one mom wrote in purple crayon. “LICH healed my son, my other son, my daughter, my husband. Save LICH!” wrote another.
Representatives including Christine Quinn and Bill de Blasio, both running for Mayor, along with state Senator Daniel Squadron, and Council Members Steve Levin and Brad Lander vowed to fight the move to close the hospital.
Rallies, marches and letter-writing campaigns have been going on non-stop since the State University of New York (SUNY) voted to shut down LICH, citing financial troubles at SUNY Downstate.
Local residents say closing LICH would leave a section of Brooklyn from Red Hook to Williamsburg without a hospital.
Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Johnny Lee Baynes issued a temporary restraining order on April 1 that bars the New York State Department of Health from shutting down LICH pending a May 2 hearing.
LICH supporters say that SUNY Downstate aims to cash in on LICH’s prime Brownstone Brooklyn real estate.