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Protesting closure of hospital inpatient services

Medical staff at St. Vincent's Hospital in Manhattan said yesterday that closing inpatient services at the 160-year-old institution means more patients suffering heart attacks, strokes and other emergencies will die before they get to the nearest acute-care facility.

"To consider closing St. Vincent's is nothing short of abandoning this community," said Tina Gerardi, chief executive of the New York State Nurses Association.

Elected officials, residents and union members rallied outside the Greenwich Village facility yesterday, while doctors and nurses huddled inside, discussing their next steps.

The board of directors of St. Vincent Catholic Medical Centers voted Tuesday to close the hospital's acute, rehabilitation and behavioral health care services. Elective surgeries are set to end April 14, and about 3,500 employees - including 1,000 doctors - will lose their jobs.

Outpatient services, including one of the oldest HIV/AIDS centers in the country, will continue as the organization seeks partners or other solutions to keep an urgent care clinic running while covering a $700-million debt.

Manhattan's Mount Sinai Medical Center considered taking over the 727-bed facility that admitted more than 20,000 patients in 2009, but suddenly pulled out last week with little explanation.

- AP

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