Emergency care on 280 long overdue

Published 10:43am Tuesday, July 16, 2013

By WES WILDMON / Guest Columnist

Now that Trinity Medical Center has been cleared to complete construction of its full-scale hospital at U.S. 280 and Interstate 459, I hope its officials will drop their long-standing opposition to Brookwood Medical Center’s Freestanding Emergency Department at U.S. 280/Alabama 119.

Most are unaware that Trinity has blocked this project since 2010, well before announcing its intentions to relocate to U.S. 280. While Trinity has since invested millions to convince you it is the answer to North Shelby County’s very real need for quick access to medical services, it neglected to mention that it has been standing in the way of us actually getting emergency care.

As it prepares to move to HealthSouth’s old “digital hospital,” Trinity should stop holding the red light on Brookwood’s freestanding emergency department.

Consider this: Trinity is going to be in the center of what is already a bottleneck on U.S. 280. What do you think will happen to traffic once you add a hospital, office buildings, shopping centers, restaurants and the other development Trinity has promised to deliver?

I have followed this issue very closely because I have a personal interest in more accessible emergency care for my family. I have lived in the Greystone area since 1999 and have seen first-hand the rapid growth along the 280 corridor.

Unfortunately, my wife has Type 1 diabetes and my two sons have issues with peanut allergies and asthma. On more than one occasion, I have had to rush one of my boys or my wife to an emergency room as quickly as possible while navigating the crazed U.S. 280 traffic. It’s the worst kind of panic and fear.

What Brookwood has proposed at the intersection of U.S. 280 and Alabama 119 is the solution to what many of us along the corridor have long hoped to see. Not a full-scale hospital with all the added traffic, but a facility to respond to immediate emergency needs. The location is better positioned to provide emergency care in an accessible location.

If Trinity indeed follows through on the U.S. 280 project it has spent millions of dollars promoting, it can afford to drop the opposition to Brookwood’s emergency department. The population along the 280 corridor is great enough that there is plenty of need for emergency care to go around. Trinity’s hospital certainly will not suffer any more than those of us in need of Brookwood’s proposed facility.

As Trinity’s officials have stated so often, lives are in the balance. It is time for Trinity to stand aside in the interest of providing the health care services needed by so many of us.

Wes Wildmon is a Shelby County resident who lives close to U.S. 280.

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