Checking our feelings at the door

Published 3:24 pm Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Last week, I was encouraged at the hospital board’s decision to form a subcommittee to explore ways of saving the labor and delivery department while preserving expense cuts our local hospital needs.

What I wasn’t encouraged by was the emotional temperature in the room of Friday’s meeting.

It’s good that so many people are passionate about what can, should, could or can’t be done. That’s what these people have been put in place for: To care and make thoughtful decisions.

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But in any case such as this – a time when “the chips are down” so to speak – hurt feelings and agendas will do nothing but slow this process down. And that’s time we do not have to burn.

This is an emotional subject. I don’t care if you plan to have children or not. Keeping labor and delivery viable in Demopolis is good for Marengo County.

This isn’t a case that only impacts the young; or the old; or the black or the while. It only impacts everybody.

If you think it doesn’t matter, you’re wrong. Period.

Jack Cooley said in Friday’s meeting the city will soon welcome a new business and 40-plus new jobs thanks to four key factors: the police department, the fire department, the schools and the hospital.

That’s not uncommon. Most people base their decision on where to locate business on the access to and quality of those services.

Demopolis’ Mayor Mike Grayson reinforced Jack’s sentiments by saying that a diminishing of services at the hospital could lead to a reduction in city services, which will impact the schools which will impact our quality of life.

Hospitals across the State of Alabama are facing a problem mostly similar to those facing the men and women in Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital’s board room.

Most have chosen to close.

That the Demopolis hospital has chosen to flip over every stone from here to August shows the progressive spirit that has both built and maintained this city.

I have nothing but the utmost respect for the men and women who are charged with making this work and that includes administration, doctors, nurses, board members and the politicians who have now joined the quest.

If a solution exists, this committee and those who sit on it can find it. There’s that much clout and brainpower sitting around that conference room table.

However, it’s only going to work if we check our feelings at the door, roll up our sleeves, grab part of the rope and pull in the same direction.

In this process there are no winners and there are no losers; only teammates charged with solving a complex problem. If that task can be successfully completed, we all win.

If it can’t, at least we know we tried.

Jason Cannon is the publisher of The Demopolis Times.