Chelsea – City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn today convened a meeting to discuss the potential consequences the community would face as a result of closing St. Vincent Hospital’s emergency room facilities. Dozens of seniors spoke out against the proposal to eliminate emergency room services and offered specific personal experiences when a visit to the St. Vincent’s emergency room saved a life. Committee on Aging Chair Jessica Lappin and Committee on Senior Centers Chair Deborah Rose joined Speaker Quinn for today’s meeting at Chelsea’s Hudson Guild Center.

Last week Speaker Quinn, together with a coalition of Westside elected officials, called on the state to take action to prevent the elimination of emergency room facilities at St. Vincent’s Hospital. The potential consequences of the proposed action are particularly severe given that St. Vincent’s acute care center is the only emergency medical space on the Westside of Manhattan from Park Row to 59th Street.

Continuum Health Partners has proposed to take over St. Vincent’s Hospital in an effort to financially stabilize its medical centers, but their proposal also includes a plan to remove the emergency room facilities.

Speaker Christine C. Quinn stated, “In the crucial seconds of a health emergency when every second is a difference between life and death, getting to a hospital in time can literally save a life. Redirecting patients to a hospital miles away is simply not an appropriate response and we won’t allow our community, especially our senior community, to be left without a emergency care medical center right here, on the west side of Manhattan.”

“We must all work together to ensure that St. Vincent’s can keep its doors open and maintain the many vital services it provides to the community,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. “It is the only level 1 trauma center below 59th street and, needless to say, is an indispensable New York institution.”

“Senior citizens, and all those on lower West Side of Manhattan, simply cannot afford to lose the access to emergency care that St. Vincent’s Hospital provides,” said State Senator Thomas K. Duane. “I and my fellow elected officials are working together as a united front and call on every agency of the City, State and Federal Government, at the highest levels, to guarantee that St. Vincent’s hospital, the only full service hospital on the lower west side of Manhattan, remains

“The loss of a full service hospital on the lower West side of Manhattan dangerously disadvantages the health and safety of tens of thousands of New Yorkers, including a large senior population that would be particularly vulnerable to the consequences of reduced health care services,” said Assembly Member Deborah Glick. “This is most dramatically true with the elimination of the Level 1 Trauma Care Emergency Room. An ambulatory care center in no way compensates West side neighborhoods for the loss of a full service hospital.”

“The fate of this hospital is about more than dollars and cents – it’s about people’s lives,” said Committee on Aging Chair Jessica Lappin. “For seniors, every second counts during a medical emergency. The longer seniors need to wait before receiving medical attention, the longer their lives are at risk. It’s just that simple. Closing the emergency facilities at St. Vincent’s would be a mistake for this community and for the entire city.”