After months of opposition, Mercy Hospital will remain open. The State Board voted unanimously against the closure on Tuesday. Owners of Mercy Hospital must submit additional information explaining why the hospital should close within 14 days for another vote. In a statement, Mercy Representative Sophie McCarthy said they were disappointed in the State Board’s decision. “Mercy remains committed to their transformation plans.”
The hospital announced plans to close this summer. Originally slated to close in 2021, the hospital owners intend to develop an outpatient facility that focuses on diagnostic testing, care coordination and preventative medicine. Trinity Health, owners of Mercy hospital, were criticized for their decision to close the hospital, particularly during a pandemic.
Located in the Bronzeville neighborhood, Mercy Hospital primarily serves African Americans, low-income, and elderly residents. At the State Board hearing, residents and employees spoke about the hospital’s closure’s potential effects.
“I’ve had two strokes and two heart attacks. If it was not for Mercy being here, I don’t know where I would go.” -Southside Resident, Brenda Moore.
“You will have indirectly signed death certificates for patients needing immediate attention.”-Medical Student Christina Govas.
With one of the busiest ER’s in the city, the Hospital’s closure could affect medical care access in the most critical of times. The nearest emergency room is nearly five miles away. Activists and residents fear losing the hospital would create a “medical desert”.
Mercy Hospital could still close. The Hospital is expected to return to the State Board in 2021 to make its case for the closure.
Danielle Sanders is a writer and journalist living in Chicago. Find her on social media @DanieSandersOfficial.