April 25, 2009 in Letters

Hospital closure unthinkable

The Spokesman-Review

I am a volunteer at the Shriners Hospital for Children; in fact, I was just voted Volunteer for the Quarter. Articles being printed are boxing 22 Shriners hospitals into a category of beds not being filled.

A couple of years back, we were told we were getting kids in and out the same day. Now it looks to me like we are being penalized.

This Spokane Shriners Hospital sees over 8,500 patients and performs 650 surgeries annually, employs 172 people, and never charges a patient or the family one cent. The patients include children from birth to 18 years of age, with problems resulting from orthopedic injuries, diseases of the neuromusculoskeletal system and spinal cord injuries.

Our hospital has an annual budget of $13 million with a deficit of $2.5 million. Of course these kids come from Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Canada and Mexico. By “helping kids defy the odds,” this hospital does provide life-changing services for the patients and families, provides employment and provides economic impact for Spokane and possibly the state.

Providing affordable childhood health care, being one of our state’s and nation’s primary issues, losing this hospital that provides the above necessary services would be a terrible tragedy.

Margaret James

Spokane Valley

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