Saving lives comes before making money

For four years, Trinity Medical Center officials have been working to facilitate the hospital’s move to the unused HealthSouth facility on U.S. 280.

The process has been a long one, fraught with legal battles with other Birmingham-area hospital systems.

Now, Trinity is closer than it has ever been after the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals cleared the way, but opposition still remains, as Brookwood Medical Center and St. Vincent’s Health System have filed appeals to the Court of Civil Appeals ruling.

Still, the lights on the HealthSouth building shine green, signifying that the hospital will — hopefully — one day open for business.

If Trinity were to start construction to finish the hospital today, it would still likely be two years before it could open for business.

That’s two years of Shelby County residents having to drive loved ones in need of care right by a beautiful, state-of-the-art facility on their way to other hospitals in Birmingham. Two years of those drivers praying their loved ones can just hang on for another 15 or 30 minutes — or much longer, if it’s rush hour.

And if other hospital systems have their way, it’ll be much longer than two more years before the prospective Trinity facility opens.

We support Trinity in its quest to move to the former HealthSouth facility — just as we support Brookwood Medical Center in its effort to open a free-standing emergency facility on U.S. 280 in Shelby County.

We believe in a spirit of healthy competition. There are plenty of Shelby County citizens that need health care. A Brookwood emergency room would certainly see its share of patients, as would a Trinity hospital.

It’s time to stop this legal wrangling from all sides. It’s time to stop making this situation about making money, when it should be about saving lives.

Trinity CEO Keith Granger told associate editor Amy Jones, “The ones I feel most concerned about are the people who need care and don’t have easy access.”

We agree. Those people are our own — our citizens, our families, our loved ones. That’s why it’s time to quit the fighting and start focusing that energy on providing medical care for those who need it. Now.

The We Say is the opinion of the Shelby County Reporter editorial board.