What’s next for Lakeshore site?

I have been closely following the news regarding building a new facility in place of the current Brooks-TLC Hospital System. Last year, I had contacted Buffalo media about the travesty of Lakeshore Hospital in Irving closing due to financial mismanagement.

That point is key. In my opinion, it was not for lack of patients, but administrative out-of-control spending after Chief Executive Officer Ronald J. Krawiec left to run another facility.

I worked at Lake Shore for 15 years and it was a wonderful place to work. Staff, doctors, department heads were all family. We had the usual lulls at holidays, etc., but nothing out of the ordinary.

I left in 1995 to work at home. Krawiec left about 10 years later for his new employment.

After that, the facility declined due to excessive inappropriate spending by the new administration.

Lakeshore had just what the new facility at Brooks is going to have, including psych beds, nursing home beds and a daycare facility on site.

The location of the new hospital, to me, is inappropriate across the street from a busy high school and near a roundabout that many people still don’t know how to maneuver. That would wreak havoc with ambulance traffic alone. It certainly will not promote a smooth delivery of patients to their destination.

In looking at the proposed units that will be included, what are the “support services” – Will it include psych? Lakeshore had psych beds which are badly needed in our county as these people have no place local to receive continuity of care.

Maternity? People don’t stop having babies and to me this would be an important department. Brooks discontinued their maternity ward, necessitating clients to go still 45 minutes away to deliver.

Dermatology? Now that we have a new dermatologist in the area, will there be a skin care clinic? Is this one of the “support services?” How about specifics on “rad” instead of lumping them all together as “CT/nuc medicine/rad…”

Interventional radiology? Radiation oncology? If these are not included then patients will still have to travel 45 minutes plus for those treatments.

In my opinion, this new hospital is a frivolous expense when Lakeshore sits there, empty, instead of being brought back to its former ability to provide care to local people.

We are in an area that is overlooked when it comes to care. Why aren’t we trying to reopen what we already have and save some money?

Put the extra cash authorized into renovating Lakeshore now instead of taking three years to build a hospital. There were a few local political people there from Sunset Bay also, who didn’t even enter the discussion except for one gentleman who really didn’t provide any insight. I have contacted state Sen. George Borrello in the past also and got canned letters from his office about wanting to do what is right for our area. But nobody stepped up to the plate about this. Lastly, I was provided information and do not know if it is accurate or not, but was told that “Lakeshore can never operate as a hospital again.”

This is concerning and without explanation. What will happen to the big empty building/campus? Will it sit there and invite vandalism in the future.

The location to Sunset Bay and summer activities would seem, to me, to be another inviting aspect for physicians. The “not wanting to drive 45 minutes out this way” can be turned back to those practices not wanting to do so, as patient’s don’t want to drive 45 minutes or more into the city either for treatment.

As a patient having had to go to Buffalo on multiple occasions the last 3 years, if a demographic study were done, it would likely show just how vast the Chautauqua County population is that do not receive the care they are entitled to right here in our area.

In the end, with the economy the way it is, it seems much wiser to put efforts toward improving, updating, and renovating a building/campus we already have in place than wait three years to have a new facility come to fruition.

Denise M. Zafuto is a Forestville resident.


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