From the Desks of Eileen Dunn, RN and David Kaufman, MD
July 17, 2013
For more than 30 years, we worked as a doctor and a nurse at St. Vincent's Catholic Medical Center here in the Village, caring for patients and serving the people of our community. The hospital and the staff delivered compassionate, high quality care to the community and to people from all over New York City.
Sadly, in 2010, we learned the hospital would be sold to make way for luxury condominiums. This caused quite a controversy in our community.
But some of us came together in this time of need, and created the Coalition for a New Village Hospital. We worked around clock, day in and day out, and organized over 8,000 community members and almost 50 community-based organizations.
There were protests, hearings, and investigations. Many people spoke out against closing the hospital. The two of us certainly did. We organized, we spoke out, we went to court, we fought hard. While we were too late to stop the closure of St. Vincent's, we made sure our community knew what was going on and we got the Department of Health to admit that by law a hospital was required at the site of St. Vincent's.
Their solution was to insult us and threaten our welfare by giving us a 2 bed hospital, instead of a real hospital. But the fight continues to restore a full service hospital and real emergency room.
During this critical time in our community's history, we remember who was there at our sides, fighting to keep the hospital open for our community. And we remember who didn't show up to the fight.
So recently, it came as a surprise to see a glossy political brochure from a young candidate and real estate executive named Corey Johnson claiming that he "fought Mayor Bloomberg and developers to keep St. Vincent's open."
If Mr. Johnson fought against St. Vincent's closing, he did so in his own mind. He never showed up to help us. He never spoke out. In fact, when we needed Corey Johnson's help, he sat on his hands.
In addition to his position as a real estate executive for GFI Development Corporation, Mr. Johnson was chairman of Community Board 4. We asked Community Board 4 to pass a resolution calling to keep the hospital open. But Mr. Johnson wouldn't even take that small step, even when other Community Board Chairs did. Real Estate developer Corey Johnson left us high and dry.
As far as "fighting Mayor Bloomberg," Mr. Johnson endorsed Mr. Bloomberg for his controversial third term, and has received campaign cash from Bloomberg's aides. If that's Mr. Johnson's idea of fighting, we wonder what surrender looks like.
Corey Johnson may be a nice young man, but his glossy campaign mailer is not telling the truth and neither is he. When we needed his help to save St. Vincent's, Corey Johnson did not lift a finger.
David Kaufman, MD
Eileen Dunn, RN