Board makes the right decision

Published 5:49 pm Friday, June 17, 2011

The dark clouds over our hospital’s labor and delivery unit are gone.

Once dim and dismal expectations have been replaced with the same hope for a bight future as the babies who sleep in its nursery.

Watching this process develop has been nothing short of impressive; the ingenuity behind this effort nothing short of incredible.

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The City of Demopolis came through with $100,000 in financial aid at a critical crossroads.

The county soon followed with a similar commitment.

I’m sure some of you reading this column, and those who have followed this story closely, have reservations about this arrangement.

An arrangement between local government and its hospital is not uncommon. The manner in which this need arose may be unique but the entities’ relationships are not.

I’m sure there are those who question the need for the city and county to lend its already tight financial resources to the hospital. I would answer those reservations with this: If you want to seriously damage this county’s – and likely this entire region’s – marketability and business and industrial future, let’s just close the whole hospital down. Your answer may be, “What do I care about labor and delivery? I’m not having any more kids.”

Maybe that’s fair. But ask Debra Fox, our county’s chief industrial recruiter, to go out and hunt us up a few hundred well-paying jobs with an infant mortality rate that’s spiraling out of control.

Maybe you’ll say, “I’ve already got a job. I don’t care if we get new jobs or not.”

Okay. But what if those jobs are similar to your skill set? Maybe it offers an opportunity for career advancement or an increase in your pay? Maybe your friends and neighbors have jobs too but are seeking greener pastures.

Too, you know what more jobs does to property values as people move here for work? They go up. The more people who live, work and commute here pump more money into the city and county infrastructure to pave roads, improve parks and increase the quality of life in our cities and towns.

Now let’s turn our attention to the doctors. They’ve been somewhat overlooked to this point. They’ve taken a reduction in pay to continue to provide this service – their second such reduction in less than two years.

Is this where you say, “Who cares? They’re doctors. They make too much money as it is.”

That’s not really fair.

Would you continue to do the same job, for the same hours and at the same level of dedication if your boss cut your pay twice over 17 months?

They would and they have.

That’s commendable and a decision I don’t know a lot of us could make and reach the same conclusion. When these meetings began in early spring, Demopolis Mayor Mike Grayson challenged this group to think outside the box and take the position that failure was not an option.

Now, as we sit in early summer, you can turn and look squarely at that proverbial box and know that not only was failure never an option, it was never under consideration.

I commend and thank the men and women who dedicated their time and energy to making good things come from a bad situation.

The babies born in that facility daily, and their mothers, thank you too.

Jason Cannon is the publisher of The Demopolis Times.