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Nurses ask for public’s help keeping San Pablo hospital open

By Noelle Walker, , 5/30/14

The California Nurses Association is calling on Contra Costa County residents to demand county leaders save Doctor's Medical Center in San Pablo from certain closure.

The hospital is set to close in July after years of financial struggles and the failure of West Contra Costa County voters to pass a parcel tax that might have kept the facility open.

"If this hospital closes, people are going to die." said emergency room nurse Maria Sahagun. The California Nurses Association sent fliers this week to communities that weren't part of the parcel tax vote in May, calling on them to pressure county leaders to save the hospital.

"The adjacent communities and hospitals will be severely impacted." explained Sahagun.

The financial struggles have been piling up for years. County Supervisor John Gioia cautions the it will take a lot of Band-Aids to hold the hospital together until a long-term financial source can be found.

Gioia says it would have to include a county-wide tax, as well as the county and surrounding hospitals chipping in with gap funding to keep the hospital running in the interim. Hospitals have not expressed a willingness to do that.

The California Nurses Association argues without Doctor's Medical Center, West Contra Costa County will become a medical desert.

"It's keeping me alive!" said Donald Mason, who came to the emergency room with complications from his medication. "I'm glad it's here. I'm glad it's open."

"If that's the only way they can keep it open, they need to extend the vote far beyond their parameters." said Martinez resident Susan Dean.

Dean said she doesn't go to Doctors Medical Center when she needs care, but would vote for a county-wide tax to support it.

"I think that something should be done to keep it open." Dean said. "Whatever is possible."




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