Dr. Abe W. Friedman ("Carnations Before a Closing," Dec. 30 Perspectives) describes beautifully the type of care that is lost when the plug is pulled on a hospital where "the majority of the employees either live in the community or close by and know the patients and their families and their problems."
For 25 years, I have visited relatives in Braddock hospital and witnessed how stress and pain are reduced when patients are cared for by people who are part of their community. Caregivers ask patients about family, tease about old times. The patients feel at home. We who visit are reassured by familiar faces -- faces we can trust because we know an aunt or grandmother or went to school with a brother.
On Jan. 31, if UPMC has its way, the unquantifiable aspects of health care that a community hospital provides -- what Dr. Friedman says "hospitals and caring should be all about" -- will be lost in the name of profit. How can losing personal care provided by dedicated workers who know the community be good for the health and welfare of Mon Valley residents?
Meanwhile, the UPMC board of directors has a very viable community made up of its own kind. Sometimes these power elite even let Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato and County Council play on their playground, as long as they stick to UPMC's rules.