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By Audrey Borgens, San Clemente
I have been a donor and a volunteer at Saddleback San Clemente Hospital for five years and have seen the intended decline in hospital services by Saddleback Memorial. They discontinued “Dancing to a New Beat” and other fundraising events, removed foundation representatives and fundraisers from our hospital, failed to replace employees who left, transferred functions and positions to Laguna Hills and arranged for doctors to send patients to Laguna Hills instead of San Clemente for tests and outpatient procedures. Now, since August, it is a “feasibility study.” However, they have gradually transferred employees to Laguna Hills or given them incentives to leave or retire. They now have a skeleton staff. Furniture has been sent to Laguna Hills, put in storage, or otherwise disposed of. All of the longtime volunteers have seen the decline since MemorialCare took over. Closing our hospital has been their intent since the beginning.
We need an emergency room and beds for those who need to be hospitalized for more than one day. Why should we have to drive to Laguna Hills to be with our friends and family? We need to be close to home and to our doctors. I realize that many visits to the ER are for minor problems that can be treated at an urgent care center, but for those that require surgery or have other major problems that require long-term hospitalization, we need beds to put them in here, not a drive up our dangerous freeway to Laguna Hills.
Speaking of “beds,” another donor and I donated special ICU beds (not inexpensive) to Saddleback San Clemente and have been asked to sign them over to Laguna Hills. However, when confronted with this at a San Clemente City Council meeting, Geidt said, “I don’t know anything about beds. We don’t need any beds.” Another person from Laguna Hills has said, “think of the sick person who needs a bed.” What about the sick people here who need hospital beds and will not find any available?
Last, but not least, my friends at Laguna Woods (Leisure World) and Laguna Hills, say they do not want to use Saddleback Laguna Hills and use Mission Hospital whenever possible because it is a much better hospital. If Geidt thinks Urgent Care is so great, why not change Laguna Hills to an urgent care center? Saddleback Memorial is greedy, deceitful and stubborn.