240 employees at Brooklyn's Brookdale Hospital returned to work from the weekend to discover that they no longer had jobs. The layoffs came as a surprise to the doctors, nurses and workers who received pink slips today. The workers' union staged an impromptu rally outside the Brownsville hospital, insisting that patient safety is being compromised and expressing fears that the hospital will close down. Brookdale officials did not address any rumors of its potential demise, but did say that there will also be a hiring freeze. They blamed the cuts on "inadequate reimbursements, larger numbers of uninsured patients and unreasonable and well-documented abusive practices by a number of health insurers and managed care organizations, with little external relief expected." Governor Paterson has been on the defensive about his proposed health care cuts in the current budget crunch.