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CHESTER COUNTY, Pa. - Chester County is days away from officially losing one of its hospitals and a second is not far behind.
A website and Change.org petition started by Evan Tull is the latest cry for help from the community.
"I started this because while we're in the middle of a health crisis our communities are watching hospital close," Tull said to Fox 29 over the phone. "The point of the petition and website is give the community somewhere to go and something to stand behind."
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Financially-troubled Tower Health made the announcement earlier this month about the hospitals' closures, weeks after announcing new ownership would keep the hospitals open. That deal fell through.
With surging COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant, Chester County EMS Council President Charles "Chaz" Brogan told Fox 29 on Wednesday that the closures could not come at a worse time.
Among many concerns, he says the longer ambulance transport times will put patients at risk, take services away from other calls for longer periods of time and increase EMS workers risk of COVID-19 infection due to longer contact times with patients.
Brogan says ambulances are already experiencing high wait times to drop-off patients at area hospitals. They estimate other Chester County hospitals, specifically Chester County Hospital and Paoli hospital, will now receive over 7,000 additional patients annually--that's just by ambulance.
"There’s nothing at present structured because things went up to the very end where we hoped to salvage this, and we’re not able to, so we’re in a position now to pick up the pieces," says Dr. Michael DellaVecchia, president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society.
A spokesperson for the Chester County Board of Commissioners says the holidays are not getting in the way of ongoing work with state legislators to come up with next steps and solutions.
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