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Dismantling of D.C. General Hospital Causes Dramatic Increase in Mortality and Morbidity

June 18, 2001 (EIRNS)—The following announcement was issued by the Coalition to Save D.C. General Hospital:

Press Conference
Date: Wednesday, June 20th, 2001
Time: 5:00 PM
Location: Independence and New Jersey Avenues SE

The nation's capital is facing a health care catastrophe, which worsens each day as a result of the April 30 action by the D.C. Financial Control Board to privatize the District's health services and to dismantle D.C. General Hospital, the only public hospital in the District of Columbia.

The tragic consequences of this policy were forecast by every major medical and health association, the D.C. City Council, emergency medical technicians (EMT), religious and community leaders, and elected officials from around the country, as well as area residents. In just six weeks, there may have been as many as 14 avoidable deaths because of the closing of the Level 1 trauma unit at D.C. General Hospital, causing ambulances to travel longer distances and/or overcrowding emergency rooms at other area hospitals.

Mayor Anthony Williams, the Control Board and the Health Department have attempted to cover over this catastrophe with an extensive and costly propaganda campaign, designed to convince the population that the "transition is going smoothly." At the same time they have issued "gag orders" to silence emergency medical technicians, paramedics, city workers, hospital workers, and others from telling the truth.

Medical experts, emergency medical technicians, labor union, religious and community leaders, and elected officials will expose this life-threatening situation to the press and public.

The coalition is calling on members of the U.S. Congress to act to protect the general welfare of the neediest residents, as well as all who work and visit the capital.

Speakers will discuss:

  • Documentation of deaths and increased morbidity;
  • Plans for a "privatized ambulance service" to service wealthy sections of the city;
  • Plans to further degrade medical services by eliminating essential emergency medical technicians on ambulances in the District;
  • The national pattern of abrogation of power of elected bodies by unelected, appointed managers and boards;
  • The growing support to reverse the national health care crisis by insuring a full-service, fully funded public hospital in the nation's capital.

Speakers include:

  • Kenneth Lyons, E.M.T., President of AFSCME Local 3721
  • Rev. Willie F. Wilson, Pastor, Union Temple Baptist Church
  • City Council Member Ali Sloan-El, Camden, N.J.
  • Charlene Gordon, R.N., D.C. Nurses Association
  • Abdul Alim Muhammad, M.D., Minister of Health, Nation of Islam
  • Shirley Seigler, mother of the late Eric Etheridge, victim of D.C. General Hospital shut-down

For more information, call Lynne Speed at 202-544-7087.

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