20 days now our community has been without a hospital, without a plan to ensure public health and safety for lower Manhattan and without an explanation for why our hospital collapsed in a matter of days in breach of the law and without so much as an investigation, or public hearing.
It is a testament to your voice, your persistence and your unyielding message that our elected officials are coming together on Friday May 21st at 5pm at Our Lady of Pompeii Church (25 Carmine Street at Bleecker) with a group of health care professionals to discuss "How Can We Get Back A Hospital For Our Community". This is the first time this has happened since the illegal vote to close St. Vincent's Hospital on April 6th.
While this is an opportunity for us, we must show up and make clear that our community needs a hospital at the St. Vincent's site. And though there are many possible ways to do this, there is no question that this can and must be done. Moving the hospital to some remote location or waiting until it is part of some future real estate speculation will not solve the urgent medical crisis that exists today because St. Vincent's Hospital was allowed to collapse without an appropriate back up plan. The leaders and experts who will be at the Friday meeting have the power and ability to make this happen, and we must convince them to do so.
A hospital will bring more revenue to New York City, it will make our community safe and it is the only way to ensure public health and safety for the lower west side of Manhattan. The most efficient way to do this is to adaptively reuse the current infrastructure of St. Vincent's with proper and fiscally responsible oversight. We must ensure the hospital comports with the look and feel of our community, is not determined by real estate interests but by our needs, and offers services for all of our community. We must call for a use lock to be placed on the property by City Council to ensure the only use for St. Vincent's is a hospital. This will stop the real estate forces from using the bankruptcy procedure to grab the site for luxury housing development.
And time is precious. As each day goes by I hear more stories of disorganization, and lack of medical services from my neighbors. Each time one of us needs emergent medical service we realize how serious this issue is, and every day or week that goes by the bankruptcy court allows another piece of St. Vincent's property to go on the bidding block. If they can shut a hospital down in 21 days, they can open one with just as much speed.
If you are able, I hope that you will join me in showing our strength and making clear our message this Friday. We rely on our elected officials to put our interests first, to stand up to real estate interests, privatized health care interests and to corporate malfeasance. We believe that where there is a will there is a way and we must demand our leaders understand our will and find a way.
Also SAVE THE DATE - Hands Around St. Vincent's Action, Saturday May 29th at 2pm.
New Blog -- demand a hospital and my moving photos of St. Vincent's with people's messages are linked to it.