Letter to the editor: Save Prevost

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

Dear editor,

It’s 2:00 a.m. You wake from a deep sleep to discover your heart is pounding abnormally and erratically in your chest—another episode of atrial fibrillation (commonly designated as A-Fib) “that affects 1 in 10 people over the age of 65 and can lead to life-threatening or disabling strokes.”

When the upper heart chambers fail to beat rhythmically, clots can form and travel to the brain with potentially catastrophic consequences.”

Following your doctor’s orders, you proceed to an emergency room for treatment. But where? Which one? Should I go to a Gonzales facility—a twenty to thirty-minute drive? But wait! The Sunshine Bridge is out! Would it take me forty to sixty minutes to go through the 70 detours through Gramercy and double back to the hospital? Or I could just then continue on I-10 to a Baton Rouge facility or take Hwy 1 through White Castle and on to the Mississippi Bridge and then to Essen or Bluebonnet. Would that take two hours or more as my pulse continues to bounce from 142 beats per minute to 80 to 134 to 85 to 140 within just a few minutes as my anxiety grows?

In a moment of clarity, I choose a five to eight-minute trip to Prevost Memorial Hospital, a critical access hospital serving Donaldsonville, the west bank of Ascension Parish for the past fifty years. Within minutes I am in the care of a physician and am receiving the medical care I need. Think about it. Prevost remains open twenty-four hours a day seven days a week to provide emergency care services with a licensed ER physician always on duty. In fact, aside from both inpatient and outpatient services, this hospital recorded 9,304 ER visits in 2017.

Is this a time to take away money from Prevost? NO! However, that is the proposition on your November 6 ballot. West bank voters are being asked “to decide if they want to take away half of Prevost Memorial’s sales tax.” Prevost Memorial’s yearly income is “bolstered by a dedicated sales/use tax of one half of one cent.” This life-saving facility needs this one half of one cent to continue caring for west bank residents, who are too often forgotten or treated as second class citizens of Ascension Parish.

I am asking you to experience your own moment of clarity to SAVE Prevost Memorial for yourself or your loved ones in need of emergency care, lab tests, x-rays, organ and vascular ultrasounds, 3-D mammography, respiratory services, wound care, or CT scans.

SAVE Prevost. Vote NO on the West Ascension Hospital services district proposition (Reduction of Sales and Use Tax) on the November 6 ballot.

Respectfully submitted,

Edna C. Latino