About 5 p.m. Friday, the signs went up at Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital, in Spanish and English: "Emergency Department Closed. No Emergency Services."
Later, under a setting sun, a small group of protesters arrived with their own signs. They were joined briefly by Frankie Boyett, a patient receiving treatment for a heart condition, who ambled outside in his light blue hospital gown. He took one of the placards and held it aloft, flashing its message to the TV cameras: "I have a dream -- health care for all, young and old."
That dream, however, has been suspended indefinitely. County officials made the move after federal regulators halted $200 million in annual funding for the long-troubled facility.
County leaders hope to resurrect the hospital under a private provider, but that pledge did little to lift the somber mood at the Willowbrook hospital Friday.