Region deserves better than what industry offers

Published 8:09 am Thursday, January 30, 2020

As the proud son of a woman who spent over 50 years working as an LPN, RN, flight nurse, and neonatal nurse practitioner, in the Tri-State, I find the recent announcement of Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital’s pending closure particularly gut wrenching.

I have witnessed, for the better part of 50 years, as business after business and industry after industry shuttered their doors, always at the expense of an already crippled region.

It seems, that the health care industry has been the only thriving employer for decades. This is, however, a painfully ironic fact, considering many of this area’s illnesses/injuries are due, in large part, to the very corporations that provided great, but hazardous jobs. That is, of course, until the profit and loss sheets can no longer justify their existence in the Tri-State.

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After years of living in Columbus and working in corporate America, it occurs to me that the only people who will take an interest in the success of the our river cities are the people who have a vested interest in the success of our river cities — and that is us, plain and simple!

We can no longer afford to allow nameless/faceless CEOs and boards of directors to view us as expendable resources, rather than priceless commodities!

Sadly, my family’s very specific, double-edged sword comes from the fact that, not only are my mother and I grieving for the thousands of people and their families who are facing an uncertain future, but also, and especially, the tens of thousands of people and their families who have relied upon OLBH for health care for nearly 70 years.

People like my mother, the nurse of 50 years, who chose a small community hospital,  Amex Bellefonte, as her team in fighting cancer.

We deserve better!

Chris Perry