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Nurse: Woman dies after hospital transfer

July 22, 2013 3:41:40 PM PDT
The battle over the closing of Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn is getting more heated.

A nurse claims a critically ill patient died after she was transferred to another hospital.

"It's a means to an end for SUNY Downstate and its pretty despicable," the nurse said.

The nurse, who didn't want to be identified, says she was stunned last week when a critically ill patient in the ER LICH was taken to SUNY Downstate instead of being moved to the ICU upstairs. The patient later died.

"It made me wonder if there would have been a different outcome if she would have received immediate treatment in our emergency room and our intensive care unit, rather than being in traffic going across town to another emergency room," the nurse said.

That death of a patient is the latest flashpoint over SUNY Downstate's decision to close the facility. It's a decision that's generated vocal protests led by Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio.

SUNY Downstate would not discuss specifics but insists the plan to close the hospital is legal, that it is unsafe to have patients admitted.

"And I am telling you that a lot of people have not left, we are staffed," said Joan Rowley, LICH nurse.

A spokesman told Eyewitness News: The ER at LICH remains open, consistent with the closure plan approved by the NYS DOH. And there have been no interruption in services.

But one doctor says there is tremendous pressure to turn away patients.

"Every time you get moved, even if you are stabilized, if you are moved to another hospital anything can happen," said Dr. Alice Gatner, LICH doctor.

Dr. Alice Garner says she personally walked a family with a critically infant into the ER so the baby could get treated.

"Well he had respiratory distress; he could have stopped breathing anywhere along that line. He could have stopped breathing, he could have died," Dr. Gatner said.

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