After Heart Attack at work, King's County hospital stops elder employee's pay check

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An elderly King's County Medical Center employee says all he wants to do is to get the checks and back pay the hospital owes him so he can buy food, including burgers -- instead, he claims, not only is the hospital wrongfully withholding his check but it even refused to treat him after he had a heart attack while at work in January.

"What did I do to deserve this?" says William Golden, in a comment relayed through a family friend who has visited regularly first in hospital and now in a rehab center in Brooklyn. "I am old but I'm a human being."

Golden, a custodial employee at King's County for over 40 years now, suffered the heart attack while on the job on Jan. 12 and was admitted to the hospital. He was then transferred Jan. 14 to Bellevue Medical Center where he had quadruple heart surgery on Jan. 25, according to Kris Gounden whose family has known Golden for nearly three decades. "I don't know why they didn't keep him at King's County," Gounden says.

Golden, who is about 70, lives in a building owned by Gounden's family and has worked at King's County for more than four decades, according to Gounden.

Gounden visited Golden on a regular basis at Bellevue and now visits him at the rehab center on Coney Island avenue. Golden has no known relatives in the area.

Golden was a victim of senior-citizen bullying. In 2011, The Black Star News published an article by Gounden detailing how an armed gunman had accompanied Golden to a check cashing place every pay period and forced him to hand over $700 from his check which was then $897.67.

This alleged theft had occurred for years. The bully had also allegedly forced Golden to take out a $3,000 loan against his pension and hand it over to him.

Shortly after publication of the article the New York Police Department and the King's County District Attorney, who was then Charles Hynes, became involved in the case.

The Black Star News this week contacted D.A. Ken Thompson's office to inquire about any records that may exist about the 2011 incident.

After the January heart attack, Gounden said he told physicians at Bellevue that he was acting as Golden's guardian and wanted to get a second opinion prior to any surgery. "The hospital refused. They told Golden he would die if he didn't have surgery and made him sign," Gounden recalls.

Bellevue Medical Center didn't return a phone message from The a Black Star a News this week, seeking comment.

Golden was eventually transferred to the rehab center in Brooklyn.

"His cell phone is cut because King's County has stopped sending him his checks. Even before that they were making wrongful deductions from the check," Gounden says. "He has been yearning for a hamburger and can't buy that either."

Gounden says even though he regularly buys him burgers, Golden wants to use his own money. "He's a proud man. He's never had to beg for anything. He's more concerned about that than the heart attack."

"When I called the hospital's payroll department they told me they stopped paying him because he's missing from work -- the man had a heart attack at work," Gounden says. "Maybe they thought he wouldn't make it."

After The Black Star News first spoke with Adele Flateau, a hospital spokesperson, it took one week before King's County issued the following statement:

"Mr. Golden has exhausted all his annual and sick leave, however, continues to receive coverage for medical benefits. Our Human Resources staff have reached out to him and will do anything possible to offer guidance and assistance about any other benefits for which he qualifies. We value and are grateful to Mr. Golden for his years of service and wish him well in his recovery."

The statement misleadingly makes it appear as if the hospital had actually been in touch with Golden; which is not the case.

The hospital didn't address any of the specific questions submitted in writing by The Black Star News dealing with Golden's check, including: why Golden has not received a paycheck for over nine weeks now; why a copy of his past pay stub reviewed by The Black Star shows a $162 deduction for a "pension loan", which presumably should have been resolved after the 2011 incident; why there is a $53.77 deduction for "transit benefit"; and, why the last check sent to Golden was for only $ 173.

The King's County spokesperson was also asked to investigate whether Golden continues to be the victim of elder abuse.

After The Black Star News called Allan Joseph, the interim assistant director at King's County for comments, the reporter hung up after being placed on hold for about 10 minutes.

Editor's note: If you'd like to help Golden in any way contact him at Brooklyn Center for Rehabilitation at (718) 252 9800. Make sure the assistance reaches him. You can also contact King's County Hospital which cut off his check at (718) 245-7418.

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