Assemblyman William Colton throwing his support behind the service men and women who have been protesting the closure of the surgical unit at Dyker Heights’ Veterans Affairs Hospital (Brooklyn VA).
“If the veterans can risk their lives for us and our country, the least we can do is make sure the Veterans Affair hospital is not closed and its needed services, where many of the vets receive treatment and care are not reduced,” said Colton.
In June, we covered a rally outside the VA hospital, during which nurses and veterans spoke out out against a the planned 15-month closure, which began on July 1, and cut inpatient surgical beds by 35 percent, leaving only 62 remaining beds on the entire Brooklyn campus.
“You close one floor, and next thing you know they’ll close five more, and they’ll just keep doing it until they close this place up. And that’s what we don’t want. We need the care. The veterans deserve it,” one veteran told us at the protest.
Colton has been worked closely with community activist and vet Vincent Sampieri to gather hundreds of signatures for petition calling on that the Veterans Affair New York Harbor Healthcare System reopen the wing.
Hospital officials cite a budget shortfall, and an increased need for outpatient care, for the shuttering of the wing. Meanwhile, protesters accuse the Brooklyn VA of poor management and say the closure severely limits access to medical care for Brooklyn-based veterans.
Below is our video coverage of the June protest: