Today’s news:

St. John’s Hospital must stay open

Queens faces a health care crisis as it is confronted with the potential closure of St. John’s Queens Hospital. St. John’s has provided quality health care for years to a large segment of the Queens population. The termination of these services would create an irreplaceable void that would adversely affect the health and well−being of people residing in the areas served by St. John’s.

In the absence of St. John’s, valuable time would be lost in transporting emergency patients to more distant facilities. The benefits of local health care delivery in a quality institution would no longer be available, to the detriment of those who rely on St. John’s’ services.

Also, many Queens residents who have been employed at St. John’s for years, providing health care services to patients in need of such services, will become unemployed. The impact of such a situation, especially in the context of our troubled economy, is self−evident. This would be a devastating blow to those who have dedicated their lives to caring for the sick and infirm.

No institution is perfect. There are examples of flawed performance in every field of endeavor. That there may have been some negative experiences by patients over the years regarding their treatment does not justify the closure of a facility that, overall, has performed satisfactorily.

While local and state governments are feeling the pinch of our sluggish economy, and expenditures must be prioritized, it seems unquestionable that priority should be given to the provision of essential health care services. If bailouts can be provided to mismanaged, profit−making companies, it appears manifestly unjust to withhold the funding necessary to ensure the existence of vital health care institutions.

It is requested the state infuse cash into the bloodstream of St. John’s to keep it alive in its hour of need, just as St. John’s has provided life−giving treatments to its patients over the years. The primacy of the health and well−being of the Queens residents served by St. John’s demands no less.

Joseph A. Suraci

Middle Village

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