SJ Regional Medical Center staff raise concerns over upcoming trauma center closure

Zach Fuentes Image
Friday, June 14, 2024
SJ hospital staff raise concerns over upcoming trauma center closure
San Jose Regional Medical Center staff marched on Thursday, raising concerns over the hospital's upcoming trauma center closure in August.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Dozens of doctors and nurses at Regional Medical Center in East San Jose say lives are at risk.

The hospital staff and supporters marched with makeshift caskets for 15 minutes around the hospital.

They said it symbolizes the extended transport time to get trauma patients to Valley Medical Center, the nearest trauma center once RMC closes.

"It can be life and death," said Dr. Raj Gupta, director of Stroke and Neuroscience at Regional Medical Center. "And if Valley is full, where it is going to go, going to go to Stanford, which is about 33 minutes away. This every minute counts."

Thursday's march marks nearly four months since staff say they got shocking news, that the East San Jose hospital's trauma center would be closing in August, along with reductions to ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) and comprehensive stroke programs.

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Staff say the area is home to many low-income residents, but the impacts would be far-reaching.

"Residents of other areas of Santa Clara County, San Benito Santa Cruz and Monterey County's residents of the surrounding counties count on Regional Medical Center," said Melissa Gong, a registered nurse at the hospital.

The hospital said that the closure and changes are due to a decline in utilization.

In a statement, a hospital spokesperson said the decision to close the trauma center affects less than 2% of patients treated daily.

Dr. Gupta said the impact is still major.

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"Even if you say one life will be lost per day, that's too much to handle," he said.

The hospital staff has gotten support from Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez.

"We're asking the California Department of Health Services to say 'No.' We're asking the governor to lean in and say 'No.' And we're asking our Attorney General Rob Bonta to investigate the corrupt practices of this corporation," Chavez said.

The statement below is from hospital spokesperson Carmella Guiterrez,

"Our goal is to provide excellent healthcare services that meet and sustain the diverse medical needs of our patients and our East Side community. We have lived up to that commitment by investing $200 million in Regional Medical Center during the past decade.

The campaign against Regional Medical Center chooses exaggeration to generate a false fear among members of the community we serve. It is true that Regional is:

Closing its trauma center, a decision that affects less than 2% of patients treated daily;

Reducing its STEMI and comprehensive stroke programs and has strong and considerate transition plans that ensure patients are treated in a timely manner.

Adding 20 more beds to its emergency department and remains a dedicated resource for first responders.

The facts matter. Supervisor Cindy Chavez knows better. Yet, she has chosen to divide the community with grand-standing photo ops rather than engage in a conversation about sustainable healthcare and the facts.

We are committed to delivering excellent healthcare for East San Jose now and into the future."

The closure and changes at Regional Medical Center are set to happen Aug. 12.

Staff and supporters plan to get thousands of signatures on a petition to bring to Gov. Newsom.

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