Andrew Kramer/KYW Newsradio

As bankruptcy proceedings for Hahnemann begin, officials challenge closure plan

July 02, 2019 - 3:22 pm
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Hahnemann University Hospital's owners are in bankruptcy court Tuesday afternoon as Philadelphia officials continue to press for an injunction and a special master to oversee the closing.

The hospital's attorneys accuse the city of putting patients' lives at risk by trying to slow down the closure.  

"If the city is truly concerned about patient safety, it should be acting with the Hahnemann management to reduce services as quickly as possible and to get patients into other facilities," Hahnemann's attorneys said in response to the city's injunction request.

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Litigation can't keep Hahnemann open, they say, only money can do that. 

"Right now, since this action was initiated by Drexel University and made public shortly thereafter, Hahnemann is low on supplies and staff are finding jobs elsewhere," the attorneys added. 

Under the circumstance, they said, forcing the hospital to keep treating people can only hurt patients.

They argue only bankruptcy court can iron out all the issues now that the hospital has filed for Chapter 11.

The city says there's an exception for government regulating authorities, but it's also going to bankruptcy court to challenge the closing plan in case the Common Pleas Court rules against it.

The hospital is also in talks with the state to allow an ombudsman to be appointed to run the hospital in the interim.

Nurses refuse to give up

Meanwhile, the fight to keep the hospital doors open and to find a long term solution continued Tuesday with a rally outside the hospital, with activists and politicians joining the fight.

Councilmember Helen Gym joined other members of City Council and the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to support nurses and staff at the hospital. 

"We are here for people's lives...we are here to take a stand," Gym said at the rally. 

"We cannot see everyone at one time, we definitely need this hospital," said Attiyah Jackson, an emergency room nurse at Temple University. She says closing Hahnemann will impact poor patients, seniors and overburden hospitals like hers, Einstein Medical Center and more. 

"We come into work every day. We have less and less and less," said nurse Susan Bowes, president of the Hahnemann chapter of PASNAP, the local nurses' union.

She says supplies are dwindling and the hospital staff desperately wants to serve patients and work to make sure the doors stay open.

Groups like the NAACP, Power and others have also joined the fray and there are plans for another organized protest July 11. 

Hahnemann University Hospital's emergency room is open, but as of last weekend, it is no longer taking in trauma patients. 

KYW Newsradio's Pat Loeb and Cherri Gregg contributed to this report.