Audrey Borgens, San Clemente

I have been a donor and a volunteer at Saddleback San Clemente Hospital for five years and have seen the intended decline in hospital services by Saddleback Memorial. They discontinued “Dancing to a New Beat” and other fundraising events, removed foundation representatives and fundraisers from our hospital, failed to replace employees who left, transferred functions and positions to Laguna Hills and arranged for doctors to send patients to Laguna Hills instead of San Clemente for tests and outpatient procedures. Now, since August, it is a “feasibility study.” However, they have gradually transferred employees to Laguna Hills or given them incentives to leave or retire. They now have a skeleton staff. Furniture has been sent to Laguna Hills, put in storage, or otherwise disposed of. All of the longtime volunteers have seen the decline since MemorialCare took over. Closing our hospital has been their intent since the beginning.

We need an emergency room and beds for those who need to be hospitalized for more than one day. Why should we have to drive to Laguna Hills to be with our friends and family? We need to be close to home and to our doctors. I realize that many visits to the ER are for minor problems that can be treated at an urgent care center, but for those that require surgery or have other major problems that require long-term hospitalization, we need beds to put them in here, not a drive up our dangerous freeway to Laguna Hills.

Speaking of “beds,” another donor and I donated special ICU beds (not inexpensive) to Saddleback San Clemente and have been asked to sign them over to Laguna Hills. However, when confronted with this at a City Council meeting, Geidt said, “I don’t know anything about beds. We don’t need any beds.” Another person from Laguna Hills has said, “think of the sick person who needs a bed.” What about the sick people in San Clemente who need hospital beds and will not find any available?

Last, but not least, my friends at Laguna Woods (Leisure World) and Laguna Hills, say they do not want to use Saddleback Laguna Hills and use Mission Hospital whenever possible because it is a much better hospital. If Geidt thinks Urgent Care is so great, why not change Laguna Hills to an Urgent Care Center? Saddleback Memorial is greedy, deceitful and stubborn.

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comments (5)

  • Look under the rug…………………there’s a whole lot more to the story.

  • This has been a stealth campaign from about the first year they took San Clemente Hospital, move equipment out, little by little by little, including the only open MRI in Orange County. Take services and make people drive up to the busy congested freeway to Laguna Hills where the wait is longer and appointments aren’t available as readily. Move the nurses station to the back of the hospital and all the patients to the very back so when you walk in the front door it looks like a ghost town. Give Memorial an A+ for a successful stealth campaign.

    And with all this, we still have wonderful people working at San Clemente Campus saving lives every day and demonstrating their dedication to their profession. Savesanclementehospital.org is working tirelessly to reach a better solution, join us, donate to our campaign (tax deductible) and lets keep the pressure on. Over 10,000 signatures have been gathered to save our hospital, 1500 yard signs and a determination Memorial did not see coming in our little laid back beach community.

  • Let’s not give up on this. There has to be a way to keep a badly needed hospital in our community. Why is Memorial Care so GREEDY???

  • Let’s not give up on this. We really have a need for a hospital in our community. Memorial Care is GREEDY and uncaring. Hospitals need to be compassionate and caring. They are non-profit, so they don’t even pay taxes and employees at top are very well-paid. Every other word from them is a deceitful LIE!! I would never donate another penny to Memorial Care.

  • I recently learned that Mission Hospital in Laguna Beach is improving and expanding their Emergency Department. Does the fact that they expect to have greater ER need due to closure of San Clemente’s ER have any influence on this?? Several friends at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo have previously said that the Urgent Care Center is a great thing and the “way of the future”. If this is so, why are they expanding their ER in Laguna Beach?

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