‘Shameful’ hospital events

By NICK PICCOLO

This letter is in response to Lake Erie Regional Health System of New York board chairman Chris Lanski’s recent comments on the vibrant state of Brooks Memorial Hospital (Nov. 10).

Throughout his commentary, not once does he bother to mention the fear, concern and uncertainty that he and the board have created for the people living in the area served by Lake Shore Health Care Center, nor does he mention the important role the Irving facility plays in the well-being of so many people in the surrounding area. Why doesn’t he mention the number of people who have been stabilized and made comfortable for transport to other facilities? Most importantly, why didn’t he acknowledge the care that is provided through the emergency room and other departments within the hospital that have been responsible for saving the lives of many, many people in this community?

Quite frankly, people living in close proximity to Lake Shore who either have been or are being treated at that facility couldn’t care less about what Brooks Hospital has to offer, when in reality, the time that it takes to travel to Brooks for care may literally mean the difference between life and death. Perhaps he should spend less time trying to justify and rationalize the board’s decision to close the facility and spend more time and effort toward devising a strategic solution for keeping the Irving facility open.

No one disputes the responsibility the board has to ensure a financially sound operation. Nevertheless, what fails to be taken into consideration is that people’s lives and livelihoods are at stake.

There are hundreds of dedicated and hard-working staff employed by Lake Shore Hospital who have answered and responded to thousands of calls for aid and treatment 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and they do so with commitments and passion to both their profession and to the community that they have been hired to serve. It is shameful that this is overlooked in the course of attempting to convince members of the Lake Shore Hospital community that the decision to close the facility is somehow in their best interests.

I implore you to do the right thing for the citizens of this community.

If you and the board are convinced that you are unable to make the facility a financially viable operation and you have no interest in establishing a collaboration of services between Brooks and Lake Shore, then allow it to be sold to those interested parties who are committed to keeping the facility open and ensuring its financial stability.

As opposed to seeing this move as creating competition for Brooks Memorial Hospital, it should instead be seen as a meaningful way to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of the residents in Northern Chautauqua County and by having options for care for people to choose from; it can do nothing but encourage staff at both facilities to be the best that they can be.

Nick Piccolo is the mayor of Silver Creek.