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    Peacetown Jonathan's Avatar
    Investigative Reporter

    Hospital Reopening a Big Success: Draws Praise & Patients Week One

    From the Sonoma Independent read the full story here

    Just one week after the October 30 ribbon cutting ceremony in which the Sonoma West Medical Center made history by becoming the first community hospital to close and reopen, the new “no-wait” emergency room is already seeing as many or more patients each day than Palm Drive Hospital.

    According to the SWMC, as of Friday, November 6, 120 people have entered the ER and been seen by a doctor in five minutes or less. A total of 242 people have used the ER, diagnostics, labs, or been admitted, and the first surgeries have been scheduled.

    So ends an 18-month long health care crisis for many of the 60,000 residents of West Sonoma County, who found themselves without an emergency room when, after 70 years, Palm Drive Hospital closed on April 28, 2014. With Sutter reducing the number of emergency room beds from 16 to 10 when it moved to its new location, and the closing of Palm Drive, wait times for emergency care at Santa Rosa’s hospitals have skyrocketed. As reported here in the Sonoma Independent, at least two local residents have died, their families believe, because of the hospital closing, while countless others, especially less mobile seniors and disabled, suffered hardship and enormous logistical challenges.

    Marc Levine, the California Assembly Member in whose district the new hospital is situated, explained, “Documented studies show that lives are saved when the public has access to a hospital emergency room. Particular
    ly for the people in West County, the Sonoma West Medical Center is the closest hospital and will undoubtedly make a difference between life, death or serious permanent disabilities."

    At the ribbon-cutting event, Sebastopol’s Police Chief Jeffrey Weaver looked euphoric, telling people that the closing of the hospital was among the hardest experiences of his 20-year career. “I am ecstatic,” Weaver beamed. “Having been here on the day that it closed, that was tragic and you saw bad outcomes. This is the inverse of that: this is wonderful and you see nothing but good outcomes. I couldn’t be happier.”

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