Empty Chair Versus A New Shiny Building

My father was a hardworking steel worker who could make folks roar with laughter at his funny stories. He was a devoted family man who made sure the bills were paid, his family was clothed and put a roof over our heads. He taught my sister, brother and myself the golden rule.

In 1982 at the Thanksgiving Day table at my house, there was an empty chair. It belonged to my father, who died at 51 of a heart attack. He did not get to see me excel in my business of choice. He did not get to see my brother graduate high school. He did not get to see his grandchildren and he left my mother to attend to my special needs sister without him by her side. My father would have seen all of this but he did not make it to an acute care hospital in time for his life to be saved.

In this Your Tube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJvwGTnfUaA) Dr. Terry Kilroy testifies that in the event of a heart attack, stroke, sepsis and other emergencies, going directly to an emergency room attached to an acute care hospital can mean the difference between life and death. Dr. Kilroy knows this from experience. He has saved many lives and his life was saved because a full service Lakewood Hospital was there to save him and others he treated. My father always told me to err on the side of safety. With that in mind, I will take Dr. Kilroy’s view on the importance of having a full service hospital here in our community any day over research that might suggest that the proposed so-called emergency facility can take the place of a full service hospital. That research is more devoted to a profit motive than it is to what is best for the citizens of our city. And in our densely populated area, Fairview is too overcrowded to properly handle emergencies from Lakewood.

Our profitable, full service community hospital has been unnecessarily closed down by only a handful of people who quite frankly are in need of a heart transplant because if they had a heart, they would have not done this. This small group of people have nothing in mind but profits. It brings to mind the people who were perfectly willing to say that fine family homes were “blighted” so that they could force families out of their homes to build a strip mall. That was bad enough. Now that brand of thinking has closed our hospital and put lives at risk. 

The Cleveland Clinic likes to say they are the best…they say theirs is world class health care.  Yet, they have slipped a non-compete clause into the master agreement that prevents a direct competitor from going into business in our empty hospital building across the street from what will be their so-called emergency room and medical offices. This is a stunning sign of weakness on their part. If they are as great as they say they are, why can’t they handle competition? It is Wall Street behavior at its worst. They want and have secured a monopoly that is anti-capitalist and diminishes services and increases prices. Anyone can see that is the truth. It is undeniable. To say otherwise is to suggest I should look to the western sky to watch the sun rise. 

This is truly difficult to say. It comes from personal experience. There will be a lot of empty chairs at holiday dinner tables this year now that the hospital is closed. All because a handful of greedy people have dictated to the 52 thousand who live in Lakewood that a full service hospital does not suit the financial goals of those few. Court documents have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that the hospital was closed as a result of destructive mismanagement on the part of the Clinic.

 I don’t know about you, but I’d take a full table at Thanksgiving any day in favor of a shiny new building and misplaced fantasy talk of the promise that the building might bring. I can’t possibly see how anyone’s life is less important than the bottom line of The Clinic or any of the builders who are anxious to make money on the construction of a new building. I don’t know about you, but as far as I am concerned, lives mean a lot more than money especially when it is made on the foundation of false scenarios and lies.

To see this address presented at the March 7th city council meeting here is the You Tube link…


Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 4:44 PM, 03.29.2016