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Disservice to the community

On Thursday, June 22, I opened Facebook on my phone as I gave my eight-month-old daughter her bottle. Little did I know that the first thing I would see would upset me enough to keep me up for much of the night. I tossed and turned, drafting angry letters in my head, knowing full well I had to be up by 5:30 and at work by 7.

When my daughter was born, I was lucky to find great doctors for her at Warren Pediatrics. They’ve known her from her very first days. They’ve watched her grow, helped me through her first cold, and from day one I’ve had trust and respect for their abilities to provide care for my daughter.

Now I find that their abilities to do so are being infringed on. With the decision to close the pediatric unit at Warren General Hospital, I can no longer trust that if my daughter is sick she will have the care of her doctors. I do not have a problem with seeking treatment in Erie or Pittsburgh if I feel that the problem is serious enough to warrant doing so. However, I do have a problem knowing that my local hospital will not provide care for my daughter outside of the emergency room.

How, I wonder, can a hospital proudly proclaim on their website and signs in town that they are a top 100 hospital award winner, when they are no longer going to provide service to the most vulnerable of our population? The website statement says they have “aggressively advanced” toward their goals and they look to “support growth.”

“We are excitedly preparing for the future” – though apparently they will not be providing healthcare to the population most important for our future.

I work in health care. I can understand the need to cut costs. Though with a pediatric unit as small as the one at Warren General, one that hasn’t been updated in years, I wonder just how much is being cut. I haven’t seen the budget, so I don’t know what the cost saving is, but I do foresee that there is potential for a greater loss in our community.

Warren has long struggled to attract and retain good doctors. How can we do so when we cannot offer these physicians a hospital to practice in? Sure, pediatricians will still be able to see newborns on the maternity ward, but is that enough to constitute good care? Is this really the future that the hospital has been excitedly preparing for?

This closure is a dangerous thing for our community. It is dangerous for the health of our children. It is potentially prohibitive as some parents may not be able to get transportation of afford the trip to Erie or Pittsburgh in order to get the care their children need. We are tying the hands of the dedicated doctors we have, and chasing away any prospective physicians from joining our community.

To say I am disappointed in this decision would be a severe understatement. I would ask Mr. Richard Allen and the Board of Directors to reconsider this decision carefully and think about what this could do to our community as a whole.

Sincerely,

Amber D. Sharp,

Warren

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