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OpinionLetters

Letter: Reopen Long Beach hospital

The Long Beach Medical Center, closed by superstorm

The Long Beach Medical Center, closed by superstorm Sandy, may not reopen as a full-service, acute care hospital, according to hospital officials. (June 26, 2013) Credit: Steve Pfost

I am writing in response to your editorial "Long Beach at crossroads" [July 22]. I want to express my concern regarding the red tape that has surrounded the reopening of our local hospital.

The hospital has complied with state Department of Health requirements and is ready to reopen. The hospital is willing to affiliate and to downsize, but not in the area of emergency receiving care, which requires the support of ancillary services as well.

We cannot responsibly and safely provide emergency care to residents without this facility. We live on a barrier island with only three ways off. There are drawbridges at each of these exits, which are the only way to other area hospitals. Especially in the summer with the increased boat traffic, the drawbridges are frequently open for more than 10 minutes.

A normal response time for an ambulance can double if the bridges are open. How many cardiac muscle cells and brain cells are destroyed in that time?

We are a busy, multi-aged community with four nursing homes, and we have the right to access emergency care in a timely manner. Human life is something to be treasured, not to gamble with!

Betty J. Barto, East Atlantic Beach

Editor's note: The writer is the president of the Long Beach Art League.

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