LONG BEACH - Demonstrators in Long Beach sprawled out on the sidewalk today in feigned death poses to protest the lack of a functioning hospital in their community.
Instead of a sit-in, the protesters were holding a "die-in." Participants said they're worried about medical emergencies in their community because their local hospital, the Long Beach Medical Center, has been closed since Superstorm Sandy struck 15 months ago.
Residents in need are currently being taken to other hospitals, such as South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside. The distance has residents like Florence Cahn worried.
"Last night I was walking home from my gutted house to the apartment that I'm living in. It was a short walk around the corner but it was brutally cold and windier than it is today," said Cahn. "I thought to myself, 'If I start to have a heart attack, I am going to be gone.'"
Officials from South Nassau say that recent recommendations from the state are paving the way for a planned emergency department in the area.
"South Nassau Communities Hospital has been working diligently with Long Beach Medical Center and the New York state Department of Health to develop the health care delivery model that will meet the needs of Long Beach and the surrounding communities," a South Nassau spokesman told News 12.
However, community members say they want to have a say in any plans for the facility, similar to the series of public meetings that were held before the Long Beach boardwalk was rebuilt.
Calls to the Long Beach Medical Center for comment on this report have not been returned.