My mother in law was rushed to the hospital last Monday evening. St John’s went on diversion* shortly after her ambulance got there. (*Ambulance companies dispatch their ambulances to other hospitals.) Stretchers were lined up two rows deep in the hallway. I felt sorry for the staff who were doing their best under the circumstances, but especially sorry for my 79 year old mother-in-law who remained in the hallway for hours until a room in the ER was available. A few patients recognized me from Peninsula Hospital where I have worked as an RN for 12 years, and one of them, with a look of pain in her heart and fear in her eyes, said to me “We need our hospital back.”
The closure of Peninsula Hospital is taking it’s toll on the entire community including patients and their families, the staff at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, who now has the challenging task of serving the entire Rockaway community, and the dedicated staff at Peninsula Hospital who are now unemployed.
As we all know, Peninsula has had it’s share of recent hardships - union struggles, financial struggles, hurricaine evacuation, to name a few. With each struggle, we found ourselves fighting harder and stronger then any storm under the leadership of several “pioneers” made up of staff from many departments of our hospital who pulled themselves, and all of us together on their “ship” to fight these brutal storms. Back in August, with the help of local politicians, we joined forces with the community, and fought yet another vicious storm- the potential closure of the hospital. With only a few grains of sand in the hourglass, our pioneers worked dilligently to save the hospital. With barely a grain of sand left, we found ourselves being pulled safely to shore by Revival Healthcare under the leadership of Todd Miller, CEO. Thrilled that we survived another storm, we were eager to work together with Mr. Miller to continue our services to the community.
We are here now seven months later confronted by another storm and I am confident that we will once again survive. I have taken care of neighbors, friends, and family during my career at Peninsula Hospital and know firsthand how important this hospital is to our community. To some, Peninsula is their choice - to others, it may be their lifeline in an emergency. Either way, Peninsula Hospital is a vital part of our community and I hope I will be able to continue providing the care that this community is deserving of.