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Closure of DMC would be grim

Contra Costa Times - Letter to the Editor, 5/14/14

As a registered nurse who has worked for many years at Doctors Medical Center San Pablo, I'm intimately familiar with the critical need for a fully operational hospital in West Contra Costa County and the disastrous public health crisis its closure will create.

As it is, West County, one of the most illness-prone regions in Northern California, doesn't have enough emergency capacity for its current population. DMC has 79 percent of the hospital beds and 60 percent of the emergency care in the region.

Many neighborhoods border the refineries and other local heavy industries have caused asthma rates among children to skyrocket. Less than two years ago, a disastrous explosion and fire at the Chevron refinery forced more than 15,000 residents to seek hospital treatment. The incident was not the first of its kind, nor will it likely be the last.

As a dire matter of public health, I urge Contra Costa County to assume authority of DMC and ensure the continuing operation of the facility as an acute-care hospital with a fully staffed emergency department.

Seung Choo

El Cerrito

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