Rural residents lose vital resources after Lake Shore Hospital in Irving closes

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IRVING NY (WIVB) – The Lakeshore Healthcare Center has closed for good, forcing some patients from the south to travel 20 minutes to get to the nearest hospital. Several people in Chautauqua County say it will put residents at risk.

“For many of our medical patients, when you are in an emergency situation you have no time to waste and that extra 20 minutes means everything that can literally mean the difference between life and death,” he said. said Aubrey Cunningham, former employee.

Cunningham has worked at Lake Shore Hospital for the past five years. During this time, she watched the hospital slowly shut down every one of its departments, from its medical surgery unit to its nursing homes. She says staff were told in December that the emergency room and behavioral health department would close next. These are services, she says, that this community relies on.

“Chautauqua County has doubled the suicide rate in New York State on top of the fact that we have higher rates of drug addiction, more seniors and lower income residents, I mean we need of those services here, ”Cunningham said.

The closest emergency room to the Irving campus is Brooks Memorial Hospital, a 20- to 25-minute drive away.

“I don’t know how you’re going to cope with a heart attack, now I worked here during the ’77 blizzard and nothing has changed,” said Louis Pelletter, the assistant city supervisor of Hanover. “You could have made it here and it would take you awhile and during a big snowstorm I don’t know what you’re going to do if you have a major heart attack.”

According to a spokesperson for the Brooks TLC Hospital System, the closure is due to a lack of staff to run the hospital.

Cunningham says she is disappointed that hospital officials haven’t done more to prevent this from happening.

“There is a lot of disappointment knowing that our community and our employees are suffering,” she said. “Knowing that not much was done to make sure we had options.”

The closure affects nearly 200 full-time and part-time employees.

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