Melrose Park Continues Fight To Keep Westlake Hospital Open

Steve Miller
March 11, 2019 - 6:58 pm

WBBM Newsradio/Steve Miller


CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) – Just days after the village of Melrose Park filed suit against the new owners of Westlake Hospital in hopes of keeping it open, now patients and medical staff are calling on the state to stop the shutdown.

At a hearing Monday, patients and doctors urged a state board not to rubber-stamp an application by Westlake Hospital's new owners to close it down.

Dr. Glenn Kushner, the president of the medical staff at Westlake, has been there since 1985. He said for him, it's all about saving the community hospital that so many low income families rely on, even as more and more community hospitals close.

"I'm afraid what's going to happen is, eventually people are going to start dying in ambulances, dying on the way to hospitals, and it may take a relative or a politician to die, unfortunately, in the ambulance on the way to a hospital, for them to understand the need for a community hospital."

The CEO of Pipeline Health, the hospital owner, told the hearing that Westlake is not a trauma center and its operating losses are growing and financial resources need to go where they have more impact.

Dr. Nabil Saleh, a pediatrician at Westlake for 40 years, said families he treats don't have anywhere else they can easily get to.

"Those mothers are crying in our offices now, saying, 'How could you abandon us?' I said, 'I'd never abandon my patients. We are being forced to abandon you, but we will fight.'

"It's David against Goliath, and hopefully David will win."