Peninsula Hospital Suspends ER Services as Workers Rally

Hospital continues work on plan of financial viability.

By Pei-Sze Cheng and Kat Creag
|  Wednesday, Aug 24, 2011  |  Updated 7:45 PM EDT
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UPDATE: Peninsula Hospital Lifts Planned ER Suspension

Embattled Peninsula Hospital in Queens will suspend all its emergency room operations beginning Wednesday as it continues to work on a plan for financial viability.

The 100-year-old Far Rockaway hospital is on the verge of bankruptcy and has been negotiating with the state Health Department and potential buyers to try to keep the facility open.

As the hospital's possible closure loomed, workers and community members gathered there Monday evening to rally in its support. Another rally is scheduled for Tuesday at 7 p.m. in front of the hospital.

The hospital has already stopped accepting ambulance-transported patients in its emergency room. Monday, it was announced emergency services will be suspended altogether beginning at 11 p.m. Wednesday.

A new sign placed in the emergency room area of the hospital reads: "Peninsula Hospital Center will not be accepting any emergency department patients as of 11 p.m. Wednesday, August 24, 2011." 

The sign suggests patients needing emergency care go to St. John's Episcopal Hospital which is two miles away.

A spokeswoman for the hospital said the actions were temporary, and that there were plans for sale or restructuring.

The hospital board is continuing to meet, said the spokeswoman, Liz Sulik. Hospital officials are continuing to talk to investors, and the board hopes to finalize a plan by Monday night to submit to the state Health Department by Tuesday morning.

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