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Cuts at Oak Forest Hospital will cost Stroger, Democrats

Monday, June 18, 2007
Daily Southtown
by David G. DeVos

Over 100 of my co-workers (at Oak Forest Hopsital) were given their "pink slips" June 1, with many more yet to follow.
Meanwhile, an outside contractor steadily made way on fulfilling its reported $13 million contract with the county to tuck point the buildings on a campus that now houses only a few more patients than that company has working on a daily basis.
Note that the hospital at which I work is not in danger of losing its accreditation due to poor performance and practices in its operation.
Oak Forest Hospital has been experiencing problems, or at least the rumors of problems, since the day I started some 18 years ago, mostly due to the fact that the administration downtown sees us as unnecessary to the taxpayers and residents of Cook County.
The fact of the matter is, however, that they are oblivious and detached. They are envious of our abilities, envious of our campus and mostly envious of the fact that our employees perform their duties day in and out both efficiently and effectively with a sense of urgency to the patients we care for and the residents of the county whose tax dollars pay our salaries.
This sense of urgency doesn't come from the exorbitant amounts of money that we are paid, because we are not. It comes from our intrinsic sense of pride in our duties and responsibility to our patients and residents.
You can't pay someone to have this sense; it is a part of the very fabric from which they are cut.
A true sense of caring is an area ambiguous to this administration, perhaps not so much because they cannot understand but more so because they have chosen not to try.
This administration doesn't have this sense; they are concerned only with the fulfillment of deals made in back rooms to get budgets passed.
They are concerned with providing high five-figure or six-figure incomes to their families and friends.
They are concerned with getting elected or holding on to the positions they were elected to. They are concerned only with, in a word, themselves.
Despite everything happening around them, they still have yet to understand the reasons for which they were elected to begin with, just like so many of our elected officials before them.
They have yet to understand that their positions are ones of service and not of power.
They read the words that their speechwriters and handlers have composed for them without truly understanding their meaning or having any intent to do so.
They continue to act as though their positions have a greater significance to their own ends than they do to the means by which they conduct their duties.
Todd Stroger and his cronies are enjoying a ride right now on a roller coaster that has already had more twists and turns than any that Six Flags has to offer. But make no mistake Mr. President, soon enough your ride will be ended and the attendant will be telling you to release your harness, get out of the car and exit the queue.
And it won't be only you that is asked to leave, sir. Your entire party will be asked to leave the park. That is perhaps the only recourse available to those of us who will soon be lined up on a different kind of queue: knowing that your ride is as limited, if not more so, than ours.
The people of suburban Cook County won't be as lucky; neither will the patients whose lives will be forever altered due to your actions.
The care and services for which the taxpayers of Cook County provide will no longer be available to them in the southern part of this sprawling entity.
These patients will not receive the care and attention to which they have become so accustomed. And the name of Cook County will slowly descend from the high standard of care for its citizens it used to be known for to the depths of detachment that your administration has strived to attain.

David G. DeVos is a Tinley Park resident who has worked at Oak Forest Hospital for nearly 18 years.

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