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East San Jose community concerned about planned closure of trauma center

Planned closure of East San Jose trauma center causing concern among community
Planned closure of East San Jose trauma center causing concern among community 03:41

SAN JOSE — A community is rallying together to speak out against the planned closure of an East San Jose trauma center.

Sharon Martinez, a resident of Milpitas, delivered a heartfelt plea at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors Meeting, sharing her personal story of survival thanks to the East San Jose Regional Trauma Center.

Martinez recounted how the trauma center played a crucial role in saving her life back in 2019 when she suffered a brain hemorrhage.

"I might not be here today if it weren't for the East San Jose Regional Trauma Center," Martinez emphasized to the attentive crowd.

Living just 15 minutes away from the hospital proved to be a lifesaving advantage.

Her husband, Benjamin Martinez, echoed the sentiment, expressing the critical need for a nearby medical support system in case of emergencies.

"We need to know that we have a medical support system that can help us if something goes wrong," he stressed.

However, the impending closure of the trauma center in August by Regional Medical Center has sparked widespread concern. The hospital's justification of not seeing enough patients to sustain the trauma center has raised alarm bells among residents like the Martinez family.

A county report revealed that Regional Medical Center attends to nearly 2,500 trauma patients annually. Closing the trauma center would force patients experiencing emergencies such as heart attacks or strokes to travel significantly farther for immediate care.

Supervisor Cindy Chavez, representing District 2, emphasized the public safety implications of the closure, especially for communities near the Regional Medical Center.

"All of these patients would have to go to other emergency rooms," she stated.

Brian McBeth, Director of Quality & Safety at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, warned of the immediate negative effects of the closure, including increased demand for emergency transports, longer wait times, and congestion, disproportionately affecting communities with fewer socioeconomic resources.

Jeremy Barousse from Amigos de Guadalupe shares those community concerns, stating that residents are fearful about the uncertainty surrounding access to critical medical services.

Despite the challenges ahead, Sharon and Benjamin Martinez remain resolute in their efforts to advocate against the closure, vowing to continue sharing their story at hearings and raising awareness about the indispensable role of trauma centers like the one that saved Sharon's life.

"All I can say is good things about what happened to me," Sharon Martinez reflected. "My neurological surgeon was great; he really saved my life."

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