Our community's movement to demand a full service, community hospital for the lower west side of Manhattan
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
COMMUNITY MEMBERS FILE APPEAL TO DEMAND THAT NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH INVESTIGATE CLOSURE
OF ST. VINCENT'S HOSPITAL AND ENSURE NEW HOSPITAL AT THE SITE
Attorneys for community members of the West Village and Chelsea filed an appeal on Jul 19, 2010 to challenge the Bankruptcy Court's decision to deny community members the right to file suit against the Department of Health for allowing St. Vincent's Hospital to wrongfully close and for not ensuring a hospital replaced the 160 year medical institution. The Bankruptcy Judge claimed the suit would unfairly impact the distribution of assets to the creditors deciding it would "exercise control" over the assets.
Yetta Kurland, one of the attorneys representing the community members stated "This is not just about our fundamental right to health care, it is also about our fundamental right to due process. The Department of Health has an affirmative statutory obligation to ensure hospitals are closed properly. That means that the public needs to be properly protected in that process, which it was not here. It also means that the DOH has to ensure a continuation of the same services and ensure that this is place before it allows a hospital to close.
"But the Bankruptcy Court Judge told us that we could not proceed with our claim in New York State Court, not because we didn't have grounds, but because she wanted to retain jurisdiction on all matters related to the closure. But then she turned around and told us that we couldn't bring this lawsuit in Bankruptcy Court because we weren't a debtor or a creditor and because it might adversely impact the creditors' assets. This is not about assets, this is about people's lives. It begs the question; where do we go for relief when our state agencies are not doing what they are supposed to be doing. We believe the decision violates due process, New York State health laws and the New York State constitution."