New York, NY — May 3, 2010 — The medical staff of the boarded St. Vincent’s Hospital is expressing shock as news of Saturday’s Times Square near-miss bomb scare arrived only hours after the 160 year-old hospital’s Level 1 Trauma Center was sealed for the last time. As in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and September 11th, injured victims of a Times Square incident would have been rushed to St. Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village, the only Level 1 Trauma Center on Manhattan’s West Side between the southern tip of the City and 116th Street.
On April 30th, St. Vincent’s was shut and its emergency room/trauma center boarded up by the New York State Department of Health less than 36 hours before Homeland Security was alerted to the smoking Nissan Pathfinder.
“The closest hospital, a straight shot down 7th Avenue, has just been taken off-line. One thing is clear: People will die due to the closure of St. Vincent’s Hospital.” said Dr. Josh Torgovnick, a neurologist who served the hospital until last week.
At a meeting Friday night, 500 angry community members met at Chelsea’s Hudson Guild to demand that a full service hospital and trauma center replace the closed St. Vincent’s, rather than the more modest urgent care center slated for the site. Attorneys Yetta Kurland, Tom Shanahan and community organizer Miguel Acevedo report that more community events and legal action is in the works. “We won’t stop until we have a full-service hospital,” said Acevedo, President of the Robert Fulton Houses Tenants Association.