Sunday, February 13, 2011

NOAH, Activists To Protest Valentines Day, 8-10am At Cleveland Clinic's Main Campus On E. 93rd And Euclid On Huron Hospital Trauma Center Closing

Plain Dealer online photo of billionaire businessman
Robert E. Rich Jr., newly named chairman of Cleveland Clinic's
board of directors

















Plain Dealer online photo of Cleveland Clinic President and CEO Dr. Delos "Toby" Cosgrove speaking at at a City Club gathering in Cleveland

From the Metro Desk of the DeterminerWeekly.Com and the Kathy Wray Coleman Online News Blog.Com (www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com and www.determinerweekly.com)

A Valentine's Day rally to urge Cleveland Clinic officials to rethink the decision to close the trauma center at its Huron Hospital in E. Cleveland that, among others cities of greater Cleveland, serves the predominantly Black and impoverished cities of Cleveland and E. Cleveland will be held Feb. 14 from 8:00am-10:00 am at E. 93rd and Euclid Ave in Cleveland at the Clinic's main campus.

The Clinic's all non-Black board of directors, with the urging of Clinic President and CEO Dr. Delos “Toby” Cosgrove, said it plans to move its Huron Hospital trauma center, a Level 2 facility that serves patients with gun shot wounds and other serious ailments, as far away as 20 miles from the homes of some Cleveland and E. Cleveland residents, and to its Hillcrest Hospital in the majority White middle and upper middle class suburb of Mayfield Hts.

“We are protesting to save the lives of poor people and others and it is as simple as that,” said Community Activist Donna Brown, who initiated community organizing around the issue and has led pickets at Cleveland Clinic as a member of the grassroots groups dubbed Black on Black Crime and the Ladyvanguards. “Valentines day is a day to show love and we need decision makers of Cleveland Clinic to show some love by telling us that it will keep the trauma center open.”

Cosgrove defended the Clinic's decision to move the trauma center in a meeting last month with Cleveland City Council .

“It is four and one half miles more,” said Cosgrove of the distance from Huron Hospital on Huron Rd in East Cleveland to Hillcrest Hospital on Mayfield Hts Rd in Mayfield Hts, though community activists say such disposition is arrogant and elitist at best.

And Brown and other community activists are not the only ones upset as the decision to close the trauma center has opposition from area Black leaders such as Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, E. Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton, U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-11), and Cleveland City Councilmen Jeff Johnson and Kevin Conwell, who are leading the charge to keep it open with activist groups, local Black clergy, affiliates of greater Cleveland's medical community, and others.

“We cannot be divisive and must remain unified,” said Conwell, who is pushing tomorrow's rally along with Black on Black Crime, the MLK Coalition, the Ladyvanguards, East Cleveland Concerned Pastors for Progress and a non-profit community building group called the Northeast Ohio Alliance for Hope (NOAH), a chief sponsoring organization for the protest.

"The highest percentage of penetrating trauma in the state happens within a five mile radius of Huron Hospital,” NOAH community organizer Ajah Hales told reporters last week. “To us, the people living within that radius are the primary stakeholders.”

Fudge has made her support known as well and said the fight to keep the trauma center open must continue.

“The congresswoman is with you in this fight,” said Fudge spokesperson Beverly Charles during a recent community meeting around the trauma center fiasco.

Ranked among America's top hospitals by U.S. News and World Reports, the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, which is actually a conglomerate of hospitals and Cleveland's third largest employer, has a new chairperson of its board of directors.

Billionaire businessman Robert E. Rich Jr., 70, head of Rich Product Corp, was named to the post last week and replaces Malachi Mixon III, who had served as board chairman since 1997 but suffered a stroke last April.