You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Health care history helpful to recall


When change is good, it’s hard to take.

When it’s unclear whether change is going to be good or bad, it’s harder to take.

When, in the midst of an inevitable change of that may be good or bad affecting one’s health care, it’s exceedingly hard to take.

And, when in the midst such a change involving one’s health care, people seem to be at one another’s throats, it’s democracy.

In the vortex of uncertainty the nation is now in, I rise to sound the bell of hope. It’s not hope with a capital H. I can’t honestly do that. I offer only a small h — the kind of h that says “hold on,” let’s not have a panic attack.

It’s not that I don’t get panicky at times. Rather, it’s the result of stories I’ve written over the years about the history of health care in Springfield, which I assume to be like health care everywhere.

The stories about how health care institutions were birthed in the city have taught me a few things: That virtually nothing comes in on time; that hardly anything comes in on budget; and that absolutely nothing comes in without a sizable chunk of controversy.

If you think about it, that’s only natural. Only when everyone has a stake in the same thing do we realize how many differing opinions about it exist in our community. When there is no focus of controversy, we can coast along under the illusion of a greater unity of ideas than actually exists.

That all this controversy is unfolding as Springfielders watch the long, slow death of the building that once housed Community Hospital is an opportunity to revisit the harder truths.

Despite its having been a constant in the city for decades — a place now fondly remembered for the people spent their lives caring for others — many people involved in the events leading up to its building didn’t care for one another at all.

Reasoning that the sick poor — those who most needed care — usually walked to the old City Hospital, doctors first protested, then filed suit against the city fathers who proposed building it on the far east side, a long walk for the sick poor.

In the end, the doctors’ suit was successful, but the doctors weren’t. Following the proper legal procedures in the second go around, the siting powers only slid the hospital two blocks south from the original site at Burnett Road and Main Street to the current demolition site, Burnett Road and High Street.

Even at the end of the meeting that acknowledged the location as an established fact, bitterness oozed.

The opening of the new downtown ice rink is a reminder of the more recent controversy. Its original site is now occupied by one half of the Ohio Valley Surgical Hospital, whose controversial birth came in the midst of a conflict of another generation of doctors and hospital administrators, that controversy playing out in the in the midst of a larger struggle over placing Springfield Regional Medical Center downtown.

Those who still find themselves too fixated on that controversy may want to set the Way-Back Machine to 1903, when W.S. Thomas, son of the founder of the city’s previous Mitchell-Thomas hospital, rose at the dedication City Hospital at Selma and East Streets to urge unity.

“Now, why not, as a body, unite in your support of one of the worthiest institutions we have … cooperate with its trustees … send your patients to it as far as practical … treat it as a friend, help sustain it.”

Given this longer view, I’m the opinion that communities expecting a new hospital should go through the the kind of training expectant parents take in readying for the birth of a child.

Instruction would include reminders to:

• Prepare for some pain;

• Expect it’s going to take longer than you want it to;

• Be aware that that the baby born will, like its parents, have some imperfections.

• Keep in mind that the most important thing for the child’s health is for its parents to do their best to work through their problems and keep the family together.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community News

Video shows woman kidnapped as infant in Florida joking about getting kidnapped
Video shows woman kidnapped as infant in Florida joking about getting kidnapped

A Facebook live video shows the young woman who was snatched from a Jacksonville hospital as an infant joking about getting kidnapped. In the July 2016 video, she does not hint that she knew she really was a kidnapping victim. Gloria Williams is still in a South Carolina jail cell, accused of kidnapping Kamiyah Mobley as a baby in 1998 and...
Security experts warn about possible violence at inauguration
Security experts warn about possible violence at inauguration

As the nation's security agencies gear up for President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration on Friday, some experts in the field are warning of the potential for volatility. >> Read more trending stories  "Unlike previous inaugurations in presidential history, this is predicted to be the most volatile," said Ross Bulla, a security...
President Obama welcomes Chicago Cubs to White House
President Obama welcomes Chicago Cubs to White House

For the last time in his tenure as president, Barack Obama welcomed a championship team to the White House. This time it had a special meaning to the outgoing commander-in-chief, as he spent much of his life in Chicago (though he is a White Sox fan). When Obama took to the microphone to address the Cubs fans and legions of reporters, his first words...
Dr. Bernice King: ‘My father would meet with Trump’
Dr. Bernice King: ‘My father would meet with Trump’

As a war of words plays out between President-elect Donald Trump and Georgia congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis, one is left to wonder what MLK Jr. would have done in the wake of the 2016 election. >> Read more trending stories  Two days before her famous father's birthday, the daughter of the civil rights icon answered that question...
Dems call for county commissioner in Georgia to resign after John Lewis comments
Dems call for county commissioner in Georgia to resign after John Lewis comments

Gwinnett County Commissioner Tommy Hunter waded into controversial territory over the weekend when he wrote a Facebook post calling U.S. Rep. John Lewis -- a civil rights legend already locked in a war of words with President-elect Donald Trump -- a “racist pig.” The reaction to Hunter, a Republican, taking on Lewis a few days before...
More Stories