Saturday, April 05, 2008


400 people went to Trenton yesterday & demonstrated against closing Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center in Plainfield NJ. Good for them. I hope they keep at it & that the protests grow in size & noise.

Shutting down Muhlenberg is short-sighted. We're going to need that hospital. Indeed, Solaris Health System, which owns it, may need it.

Someday, not far off, there will be universal health care in this state, perhaps in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of Jerseyans will join the rolls of the medically-insured. Primary care doctors will be overwhelmed, as they are in Massachusetts (where one can wait up to a year for an initial physical with an internist), as they nearly are here already. There will be increased demand for testing, specialists, & particularly for preventive health programs. Even more people will go to local emergency rooms for primary care health problems - the flus, sprains, five stitch accidents, waving their insurance cards.

I can almost see, in a few years, a company like Solaris trying to figure how to open a major medical unit of some sort in Plainfield; perhaps not a full service hospital, but something requiring as much space & as many health professional staffers. & wanting educational facilities there, too. It's like abandoning a stretch of railroad track when you know it probably won't be long before you'll need to run a train over it again.

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