08/05/2013 09:33 am ET Updated Oct 05, 2013

Roseland Deserves a First-class Hospital

Roseland Community Hospital (RCH) saved my life on Dec. 7, 1972. I was ten years old playing 'Bob Luce Wrestling' with my BFF Mark Gadison. Roughhousing as boys do, Mark executed the superior 'Dick the Bruiser' wrestling move and down I went. I put my left hand down to break my fall not seeing the long jagged piece of metal on the ground beneath my hand...

Arterial bleeding ensues. Anyone and anything near me is now being painted crimson red with my blood. Mark runs to get my dad. My dad and brother-in-law immediately wrap my hand, apply the appropriate pressure; carry me to the family car and race the 21 blocks to 'Ol Faithful -- Roseland Community Hospital.

As I look back, bleeding as I was, if RCH was not the 'go to' place for us SouthSiders who grew up and lived in the 'wild one hundreds', I wouldn't be alive to write this article today. How many lives have been birthed, repaired and saved because of RCH's proximity/relationship to and with the community? Countless thousands.

We've been informed that RCH's doors are going to remain open. Services have been cut and longtime employees let go. Were the health issues of our community as easy to dismiss I wouldn't be writing this article.

In 2011, Springfield voted to create the Roseland Medical District. Governor Quinn signed this into law. It's been three years since that legislation passed. Nothing has happened. The people of Roseland need more than we have right now. Just because people are poor and disadvantaged doesn't mean our communities can't afford a first-class hospital and medical district. We want to help our elected officials help us. Let us craft legislation that allows safety net hospitals to be run on deficit budgets. Create a recreation tax that funnels funds specifically to entities like RCH.

Mr. Governor. Mr. Mayor. Elected Officials. We all know what needs to be done... so let's work together for healthier communities without qualification. Because all of Chicago can do better if all of Chicago feels better.