Letter: Don’t delay hospital

January 29th, 2010

Palo Alto Weekly,

Editor,
In the wake of the Haitian earthquake I experience frustration with the Palo Alto process concerning the Stanford and Packard Children’s Hospitals renovation projects.

Stanford Hospital must be rebuilt to meet California’s earthquake safety standards. The Children’s Hospital regularly turns children away because the need for services has outgrown the bed capacity and as other children’s facilities in the area have closed. Stanford has been working toward approval for these vital rebuilding projects yet has hit one obstacle after another.

It strikes me with fear that if a natural disaster or infectious pandemic hit our community, it is our community that will suffer and would shoulder the blame for the delay.

Some objectors fear the hospital’s expansion. It is unrealistic to expect to receive world-class medical care in an outmoded and chronically overcrowded facility. Some objectors fear increased traffic, although there are reasonable plans to alleviate this problem. Some objectors seek endless perks from Stanford in exchange for a building permit, as if proximity to two first-rate hospitals isn’t benefit enough. Although maintaining the quality of life in our community is very important, we must weigh the minor inconvenience against the possible devastation that might happen for thousands if Stanford Hospital is damaged in an earthquake and cannot provide for all those that would need its services.

How tragic this Palo Alto process would seem in hindsight if life brings us the unexpected. Let’s break this logjam immediately and get on with construction!

Bonnie Bernstein
Bellview Drive
Palo Alto