Brockport, N.Y.— This week, in a memo obtained by 13WHAM News, Lakeside Health System’s CEO Jim Cummings told hospital employees that the emergency department may stay open after a reorganization.
This comes after Cummings announced on February 14 that the hospital plans on closing its emergency department, and eliminating its 61 impatient beds.
However, the memo sent to employees on February 26 shows there may be a change of plans.
In the memo, Cummings states:
“I want to inform you of new developments in our transformation plan that have evolved from recent discussions with New York State. Based on these discussions, we will be seeking approval from the State to finalize reorganization plans that include retention of our emergency department. We are cautiously optimistic about this proposal that will be submitted this week.”
For people like Jennifer Breslawski, this news is renewed hope. Breslawski has been a big supporter of a hospital. She had major surgery at Lakeside, and gave birth to her children there.
“It’s not over,” Breslawski said. “If the health department keeps them open, it's not over. People still need to fight to keep their hospital open.”
Breslawski said she was devastated when she heard the hospital was planning to close the emergency room earlier this month. She admitted she even cried. However, she took that emotion and created a Facebook page called “Paying Respects to Lakeside Memorial Hospital” to rally support.
In two weeks, the page has garnered over 400 likes. People have posted petitions and letters they’ve written to lawmakers to try and save their hospital. They’ve also shared stories about why Lakeside is their hospital of choice.
Like Breslawski, the people on the Facebook page believe lives are at risk if Lakeside Hospital were to close its ER.
“It takes a long time to get from here to the city,” Breslawski explained. “And in an emergency situation, it's more chaotic. Then you have a wait time. People are going to die if they have to go into the city.”
Brockport Ambulance also expressed similar concerns. They believe the extra transportation time that would be necessary to go from the Brockport-area to the next closest emergency, Park Ridge in Greece, would harmful for patients and spread their already-small staff too thin.
“That impacts our transport time, especially for our patients,” said Lucas VanDervort, Chief of Brockport Ambulance. “We know that seconds count in a serious injury and of course transporting patients further takes more time. That's something we want to avoid.”
VanDervort said the latest news from Lakeside is encouraging.
“We're optimistic that something will work out in everyone's favor, in the community's favor. We hope that Lakeside can work through this and keep the emergency department open.”
VanDervort and Breslawski both said they plan to attend a neighborhood meeting organized by Lakeside on Thursday to find out more about the new plan.
That meeting is scheduled for Thursday at the Sweden Senior Center in Brockport from 6:30-8:00 p.m.
There will be two additional meetings on Monday, March 4 at the Ogden Farmer's Library in Spencerport, and Tuesday, March 5 at Hoag Library in Albion. Those meetings will also be held from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.