To the editor of THE EAGLE:
I attended the public meeting with a representative from Stroudwater Associates in connection with the recent closing of North Adams Regional Hospital. I would like to speak to the many speakers who shared their thoughts and anecdotes and their pain.
Even though the speakers were not asking for sympathy, I still felt for them. Imagine losing your job, your insurance, your savings -- everything within an hour. I didn’t witness any displays of anger (except probably from me) but only a request to be made whole again. I volunteered at the hospital and I know how special the employees and volunteers were in all departments.
The North Adams hospital didn’t close because its services were no longer needed but because of bad business decisions which acquired a debt that could not be paid. With sound financial planning the hospital can reopen again. Berkshire Medical Center is bidding for the hospital and, quite frankly, I am not sure why a study needs to be done as to the services NARH should provide. Open the hospital, fully staffed. Tax records show that it made money the last year it was open. It was the $9 million debt that was dragging it down.
We are a community that cares for its own and this community needs its hospital. The so-called "ubiquitous signs" calling to "Save Our Hospital" are signs of a community coming together in its quest to retain our hospital. I urge our legislators, our community leaders to keep up the good fight.