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Don’t close any emergency rooms

Margot W. Smith
Tuesday October 02, 2001


The expansion of Alta Bates Hospital Emergency Room and the possible closing of the emergency room at Summit is bizarre, given the vulnerability of the Alta Bates location. In a major disaster, the potential for the Alta Bates emergency room being inaccessible is high. The only access to the emergency room is from Ashby Avenue, or through a narrow street off Telegraph Avenue. If Ashby Avenue were blocked, say by fire engines, excessive traffic or whatever, few could access the facility. 

We need emergency rooms at Sutter, at Kaiser, at Highland, at Fairmont. These locations are not as vulnerable to being cut off at times of disaster as the ER at Alta Bates. 

The same could be said for the idea of Alta Bates being the only birthing center in the area. 

Again, if Ashby Avenue is blocked, or the little street off Telegraph is jammed, women will be having babies in their cars.  

Who is doing disaster planning for Berkeley and Oakland? It seems to me that the location and capacity of hospitals is an important component of planning for the next earthquake or war. 

Margot W. Smith