To the editor of THE EAGLE:
Of all the hardships that North Adams has had to endure in its history, the closing of its hospital has to be the most stunning blow by far.
A hospital is more than a corporation specializing in health care. It is an essential part of any community and is just as vital to the people of that community as the police, fire and school departments. And in a rural area like western Massachusetts it is indispensable.
In the Boston metropolitan area, where the state bureaucrats reside who make and enforce health policy decisions, there are 75 hospitals to choose from. No need for them to worry too much if one was to close down. Just point the ambulance in a different direction and drive a couple of extra miles. But what if the people of Boston only had one hospital and that facility had suddenly closed? Would the politicians and policy regulators be content with telling their constituents that they were powerless to intervene? Would the voters just accept that they now would have to drive to Lowell or Framingham (using two-lane narrow roads) to access critical medical care? I think not.
All the cutting edge medical technology that hospitals have cannot help anyone if they can’t get access to it within the critical care window of treatment. By not taking immediate action Massachusetts state officials are essentially slamming that window shut in the face of all North Berkshire residents.