COATESVILLE, Pa. (CBS) -- A Chester County hospital closed Monday morning and will stop all patient care operations by midnight Tuesday. Tower Health says Brandywine Hospital is closed and will officially stop treating patients at 11:59 p.m. Monday night.
Monday at 11 p.m., staff members say they will gather at the hospital to say their final goodbyes. They say while they'll find other jobs, they're concerned about patients getting to other hospitals.
Effective 11:59 p.m. Monday, Coatesville will officially lose its last remaining public hospital, a century's old health care establishment.
"Oh my gosh, people are going to die. That's the saddest part," Acaterina Lonescu, a former employee, said.
"I'm very, very sad. To be honest, I broke down and cried when I got the news," Mark Buskell, a former employee, said.
After shutting down Jennersville Hospital in December, Tower Health will be closing the doors at Brandywine Hospital after an agreement to sell the hospital fell through.
"We're already feeling it. We're already because people have been diverted on their own knowing they're not going to get the care here," a woman said.
The move means people will have to go to either Chester County Hospital or Main Line Health Paoli Hospital for emergency services. Both locations are nearly 20 minutes away.
"The typical time used to be 45 minutes from the time we were dispatched until the time we were able to go and now we're upwards of two-and-a-half hours," Union Fire EMS Chief Gary Vinnacombe said.
EMS chiefs from the union house in Oxford to Washington house in Coatesville are warning of extended wait times, even in emergency rooms. They're asking for people to be patient.
"The main thing is, do you really need to go to the hospital and use 911, or can calling your physician or going to an urgent care help in the time that it's really needed," said Washington Hose Company Chief Scott Thornton said.
"I'm still not OK, I'm still trying to, you know, hope that it's coming back," Lonescu said.
Tower Health says its efforts to find a different outcome were unsuccessful. However, the Chester County Medical Society is petitioning the court to allow Canyon Atlantic to keep the hospitals open.
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