Second Ambulance Cost $700!

The Cleveland Clinic is now promoting the current emergency room at Lakewood Hospital with advertisements mailed to Lakewood residents. People are being wrongly told that, “Our board-certified emergency medicine physicians skillfully treat everything from cuts and fractures to cardiac arrest and stroke.”

Its not long since an aged Lakewood resident named Norman Zuanaich asked to go to the current Lakewood Emergency Room and was taken there by our EMS. That turned out to be a fatal mistake.

Although the Clinic advertisement says the “emergency medicine physicians skillfully treat …cardiac arrest,” after several hours at the emergency room, Norman was transferred in a second ambulance to a full service emergency department of an inpatient hospital. Unfortunately, time had run out and poor Norman died of an “acute myocardial infarction” commonly called a heart attack or cardiac arrest. The kind of ailment the Clinic is now saying that it “skillfully treats” at the current emergency room. 

Fault does not lie with the dedicated personnel operating the current emergency room for poor Norman’s bad experience, but rather with those who mislead the public that a stand-alone emergency room can save lives the same as an actual hospital emergency department. What was once, not long ago, our city’s major league hospital, with a top notch emergency department, has been degraded by the conspiracy of the mayor and city council and the Clinic to a minor league operation.

More recently, an elderly Lakewood widow also sought emergency care at the current Lakewood Emergency Room. She too ended up being shipped off to another facility for emergency care. Fortunately, she benefited from her treatment at the emergency department of the inpatient hospital to which she was taken. Unfortunately, this widow, who lives on a small fixed income, did not benefit from the $700 charge she received for the second ambulance ride. 

Now, a $700 charge might not seem like a big deal to Lakewood’s multi-millionaire mayor, who with City Council conspired behind closed doors to shut down Lakewood Hospital; a hospital that had been serving Lakewood’s 52,000 citizens very well. However, a $700 charge for old people living on a meager fixed income can be a traumatic event turning their whole economic world upside down. Lakewood’s officials knew full well, when they schemed behind closed doors to close the hospital, that such second ambulance expenses would occur and that many other transportation hardships would be imposed upon Lakewood’s less fortunate citizens, especially the elderly. Those same officials also knew that Lakewood’s less fortunate would be deprived of the $7 million that had long been set aside each year by the hospital for indigent care.

Lakewood officials could not help but know full well that there was no need to shut down the hospital since the Clinic had an enforceable contractual obligation to operate the hospital as an inpatient facility until 2026 (10 years from now!) and then to turn it back to the City as a going concern able to stand on its own. The citizens of Lakewood would have a fully operational hospital right now if they had not been sold out by our public officials. Judas got 30 pieces of silver for selling out Jesus. One can’t help but wonder what they got. The citizens of Lakewood got the shaft.

This November our citizens will have the opportunity to repeal the rigged deal that our officials, with total disregard of the needs of our citizens, entered into behind closed doors. What our public officials did out of the public eye was downright evil. As Edmund Burke noted a century ago, the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing. This November, the good people of Lakewood will have the opportunity to vote to repeal the evil ordinance that allowed our hospital to be stolen.

Edward Graham


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Volume 12, Issue 19, Posted 5:46 PM, 09.13.2016