A visibly appalled Bill Guarinello announced his resignation from Victory Memorial Hospital’s board of trustees last week, predicting a dire situation in the months ahead.
“In January we’re going to have deaths,” he told members of Community Board 11.
Advocates hoping to save the bankrupt hospital’s emergency room lost their battle with the state’s cost-cutting Berger Commission last month.
“Our mission there was to keep a hospital,” Guarinello said. “Now it’s a glorified treat and release.”
Ambulances are no longer bringing patients to the 92nd Street facility and patients in need of emergency care are urged to seek treatment at other hospitals like Lutheran Medical Center, Maimonides Medical Center or New York Methodist Hospital.
As a result, Guarinello, who also serves as chair of Community Board 11, fears that many neighborhood residents – especially the elderly – will suffer gravely during the height of the cold and flu season when local hospitals are flooded with emergency cases.
“Where are these people going to go?” he exclaimed at the Holy Family Home on 84th Street.
The new 24-hour “urgi-care” center left in the wake of Victory Hospital will only offer limited treatment. The entire facility’s operating license is slated to expire later this month.
Pink slips at the hospital have already started to fly.
A Borough Park developer has put in a $44.9 million bid to buy the facility. What incarnation it might ultimatley take is unclear.
Guarinello had hoped community opposition could forestall closure.
“We get what we deserve,” the exasperated chairperson said. “I don’t think the community realized the impact of it.”
Guarinello also directed some of his ire at state bureaucrats for the loss of Victory’s ER.
“Albany officials are going to have to be held liable,” he said.
The Community Board 11 chair believes that the powers that be will come to realize that a mistake has been made.
“I’m just laying it out there for anybody who wants to take up the gauntlet,” he said.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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