To The Editor:
We, recently, witnessed the “official” closing of Victory Memorial Hospital when the state removed the facility’s operating certificate.
While it is good news that SUNY Downstate will continue to provide some healthcare services for our community as in a walk-in clinic or urgent care center, we still will not have an emergency room, or access to the full range of services that once existed at this location.
I have lived in Bay Ridge all my life and know that Victory Memorial Hospital has faced its fair share of challenges in the past. However, over the past several years the facility did make significant progress in improving its services and reputation, including through having a new and improved board of directors.
In addition, for many in Dyker Heights and Bay Ridge, including myself, it was always comforting to know that in the case of a health emergency, a hospital with an ER was only a few minutes away.
The negative repercussions of the loss of Victory Hospital and the ER are already being felt. In fact, there was a recent published report about a car accident right in front of the hospital where the closed ER prevented hospital personnel from treating the victims. Instead they had to wait for an ambulance to transport the victims to Beth Israel Hospital in Flatbush.
Senator Marty Golden, (former) Congressman Vito Fossella, and Councilman Vincent Gentile worked together in a bi-partisan way in fighting to keep Victory open, including filing a lawsuit to keep the hospital open, and acquiring and presenting data to the state Department of Health that demonstrated that other area hospitals would be overburdened by the closure of Victory.
Unfortunately, our Assemblyman, Alec Brook-Krasny, whose district includes not only Dyker Heights and Bay Ridge but also Victory Hospital itself, was not part of these efforts. Significantly, it was Brook-Krasny’s political party leaders in the governor’s mansion and at the state health department in Albany who controlled the final process that closed Victory.
Simply put, Brook-Krasny was the person who was in the best position to exert the most pressure where it mattered most, on his party leaders in the governor’s mansion and in the Assembly. He turned out to be missing in action when he was most needed.
Whether he didn’t try hard enough, or simply was not effective, does not matter. Either way, it was a failure of leadership on one of the most important issues facing our community and his district. This is symbolic of how the Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights section of the 46th Assembly District is an afterthought to our current Assemblyman.
Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights deserve quality representation in the State Assembly. I will never sit idly by as our community gets the shaft from leaders in Albany.
46th Assembly District