Gabryszak Delivers Message to Governor: Save St. Joseph Hospital
Assemblyman hand-delivers 3,000 signatures from Cheektowaga and Lancaster
June 14, 2007

Assemblyman Dennis H. Gabryszak (D-Cheektowaga) hand-delivered 3,000 signatures representing the community’s desire to save St. Joseph Hospital to Governor Spitzer’s Deputy Secretary for Health Care, Dennis Whelan. He was accompanied by James Millard, President of St. Joseph Hospital.

“We need to keep this hospital open,” Gabryszak said. “St. Joseph Hospital is vital to our community – thousands of Western New York families depend on the quality health care that it provides close to home. I am strongly urging the governor to listen to the people of this community and save the hospital before it’s too late.”

A few months ago, Assemblyman Gabryszak introduced legislation to exempt St. Joseph Hospital from the recommendations of the Berger Commission (A.5382). He also asked the surrounding community to join his fight to save the hospital. The response was overwhelming. Many people wrote deeply personal stories about their experiences at St. Joe’s.

Charleen Rogala of Cheektowaga wrote, “I strongly believe my husband would have died in 1997 if it were not for St. Joseph Hospital. He suffered cardiac arrest with no signs of impending heart problems. I gave him CPR until paramedics arrived and transported him to St. Joseph Hospital. I really don’t think he would have survived being transported elsewhere.”

Anette Pszybyla of Cheektowaga wrote, “Some older people will not drive expressways or thruways which is what almost everyone would have to do from the surrounding areas.”

Patricia Kucinkisi of Cheektowaga wrote, “I’m speaking for myself and many of my friends and neighbors who are 60 and older. Many of us live alone and have no family in the area. If we get sick and we need to go to the emergency room – let’s say midnight or 3 a.m. – none of us would be afraid to go to St. Joe’s. I have gone there myself at 4 a.m. It’s close to home and in a safe neighborhood. If they close St. Joe’s Hospital may I ask – where do they think older people (alone) are going to go?”

H. Greg and Marianne Gable of Lancaster wrote, “[We’ll] never forget the day the Lancaster Village Police rushed [us] to St. Joe’s with our two year old daughter having a seizure. The ER personnel may have saved her life that night and she is now the healthy mother of 3 girls herself. The proximity of care was critical to preventing brain damage or worse that day.”

Phyllis Marshall of Cheektowaga wrote a letter about her husband of 54 years, William Marshall, who passed away on February 22, 2007. She said, “If we had to go to another hospital further away, I would not have had those extra 5 months with him, because time was of the essence.”

Assemblyman Gabryszak added, “It doesn’t make sense to close St. Joseph Hospital. It is not in financial trouble – it’s been profitable for the past four years. The hospital just added a state-of-the-art emergency department. It employs more than 800 people and plays an important role in the struggling Western New York economy. I am urging the governor to exempt St. Joseph Hospital from the ill-advised recommendations of the Berger Commission.”

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