Sunday, November 8, 2009

One Bad Apple Ruins the Whole Bunch

I will be the first to admit that I haven't read much about the problems that Children's Hospital of Seattle has faced in regards to their much needed expansion. On Friday evening I attended a Symphony Guild fundraiser for Children's Hospital, I listened to a report about this issue on NPR, and I talked to a friend of mine who is a web designer for Children's Hospital at a party last night. These are my sources.

The fact is that Children's Hospital needs to expand. They currently have 250 beds and approximately 247 of them are filled. Children are sometimes not able to be placed in the area of the hospital that would best meet their needs because specialty areas are filled to the brim. Sometimes, children are turned away for services. The Children's Hospital of Seattle is located on a fairly nice piece of property near Lake Washington. In order to expand, they must build up. There are a handful of wealthy, aged, and influential people who have made their homes on the hill above the hospital and are actively thwarting expansion because they don't want their view blocked.

Needless to say, many of the businesses in the vicinity of the hospital are kept going by the employees and visitors at Children's. I am guessing that hundreds of employees live in the area. If the hospital is forced to move, it would be to the east side of the lake. There are two bridges that provide access to the east side from Seattle and they are both hugely congested many times during the day and evening as it is. Adding Children's Hospital traffic (assuming that most people don't want to or are unable to sell and buy in this economy) is going to make a large traffic problem that much worse. I would also like to mention that Harborview is the emergency hospital in Seattle, the one that a helicopter would land at if one were to need such services. Helicopters also land at Children's. Families who have been in accidents can get pediatric and adult care on the same side of the bridge and not be separated by a lake.

But, some people just don't want to lose their view. Is a view really more important than displacing and inconveniencing hundreds of employees and patients, No. I support keeping Seattle Children's Hospital in Seattle and wish the city council and government the best of luck in overriding some seriously self-centered individuals on this important issue.