Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Leaders React to Hospital Travails | Council Members Say Venice Regional Has Credibility Issues

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Leaders React to Hospital Travails | Council Members Say Venice Regional Has Credibility Issues

Article excerpt

VENICE

VENICE -- City leaders say the latest incident at Venice Regional Bayfront Health -- a burst water pipe Sunday that prompted the closing of the emergency room to ambulances for several hours -- raises more concerns about the level of care provided by the local hospital and the need for a new facility.

"They've had a long way to go to improve credibility with the residents and I wish them nothing but the best of luck," said council member Rich Cautero. "I think there's room for two quality hospitals in Venice but I really hope their corporate headquarters, their management at the corporate level, will put some capital monies into that facility because it's obvious after what's been going on there over the past year that they need to invest some money in that property."

Cautero was alluding to Sarasota Memorial Hospital's plan to build a hospital in Venice, which was rejected by the state. Sarasota Memorial is appealing.

Sunday's water outage marked the fourth utility incident at the hospital in the last year. A state inspection last July found that the hospital failed to properly clean up after a leak sent raw sewage streaming down walls in some areas. Inspectors also discovered leaky air conditioning vents in food prep areas and a rat infestation in kitchen ceilings. An overflowing toilet last September forced hospital staff to evacuate the intensive care unit and wall off a section of the facility. And in February, two showers backed up and a supply line to a toilet leaked, sending water

through the ceiling of the hospital's cardiac rehabilitation area on the floor below.

Council member Deborah Anderson said she has no confidence in the hospital.

"I have to say that my family won't go there voluntarily," said Anderson.

Anderson said she had not followed news reports on the latest incident and learned about it from a reporter at Tuesday's City Council meeting. Nevertheless, her reaction was severe.

"And then they opposed building a Sarasota Memorial Hospital in the northeast of Venice, when they can't take (patients) -- that's appalling," Anderson said. …

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