NEW YORK—Reverend Herbert Daughtry, a pastor at the House of the Lord Pentecostal Church in Brooklyn, helped organize a candlelight vigil outside the Interfaith Medical Center on the night of Sunday, Aug. 11.
The 82-year-old was outside the hospital in Bedford-Stuyvesant from 5 p.m. on Sunday until 7 a.m. on Monday. Daughtry, who was joined by members of the local community, went without sleep.
“I didn’t seem tired,” he said.
At the height of the gathering there were 300 to 400 people outside Interfaith. Later some went inside the hospital, possibly to rest, he said.
Interfaith filed bankruptcy in December and is losing $1.5 million a month, according to hospital management.
A bankruptcy court appearance was scheduled for Aug. 15 to petition to start closing the hospital. The court has now pushed the date back to Aug. 26.
Daughtry said about 75 to 100 people made it through the night to Monday morning.
He said he could not think of a more important issue than preventing a hospital closing in a community where everybody admits there is a desperate need for medical services.
“I don’t know a better place to put in my time and effort,” he said.
The group broke up the long night by marching and chanting, listening to speakers, and sometimes taking a rest.
“I made it through the night. Then I came into the office and took a brief nap before I started work again,” he said.
Interfaith management has blamed the hospital’s economic problems on a 40 percent reduction in Medicaid reimbursements between 2010 and 2012.
A spokeswoman for Interfaith said that the problem has been compounded since more than 95 percent of the hospital’s patients have Medicaid or are uninsured.