Newfane residents try to save hospital

NEWFANE, N.Y. (WIVB) - People who depend on Eastern Niagara Hospital in Newfane fear it could close so they’re fighting to save it.

Residents met on Saturday to share their concerns with local leaders because they believe the hospital could make a life-or-death difference.  The hospital in Newfane is operated by the same group as the hospital in Lockport, the Eastern Niagara Health System. In the past few months, both have experienced layoffs.

Residents of northern Niagara County packed the meeting to express how important hospital is to their community.  “The hospital is needed for the surrounding area, as we are so close to the lake. We have many senior citizens in the area who don’t need to travel to Lockport to get services,” one concerned woman at the meeting said.

After meeting with hospital administrators, Newfane Town Supervisor Timothy Horanberg said the “writing is on the wall” that the hospital is in danger of closing.

“At one of the meetings I was at, it was said by the CEO that if Newfane was to be kept open, both hospitals [Lockport and Newfane locations] would go down,” Horanberg said.

If the Newfane hospital closes, first responders say the amount of time it takes to transport a patient to the hospital will double.  “Response time to the hospital right now is roughly 10 minutes. It would turn into 25 minutes to a half hour to take someone to the [Lockport] hospital,” said Chief Gary Snyder of the Miller Hose Company.

Hospital officials released a statement stressing no decisions regarding a possible closure of the Newfane hospital have been made.  Residents hope they can still influence their decision by expressing their concerns at meetings like the one held Saturday.

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