I am distressed to hear that the NYS DOH wants to close most of St. John's Hospital, but I'm not surprised. As Chief Medical Officer at Peninsula Hospital Center for 10 years until its closure in 2012, I had a front row seat to the actions of the DOH. I attended and testified at the Burger commission hearings. I attempted to make them see the reality of health care in the Rockaways, but they didn't care. In their opinion, there were too many hospital beds in Rockaway and they were determined to downsize their costs, irrespective of the fact that the community was on the verge of a population boom.
Peninsula stood alone and vulnerable as an independent entity while St. John's had the deep pockets of Episcopal Health Services. To them, Rockaway was just a part of larger Queens, not a community with a unique geographical location. The DOH refused to help Peninsula during its financial struggles, and the majority of the Rockaway community didn't support the hospital until it was too late. So Peninsula Hospital, the largest employer on the peninsula, passed into the history books. I hope this time around the community takes a stand in support of St. John's because if we lose St. John's, people will die due to the lack of available care and many others will lose their jobs. That is something we cannot allow to happen again.
Peter Galvin, M.D.
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