Indian River Medical Center Steps up Against All Aboard Florida

Jeff Susi.

Indian River Medical Center president/CEO Jeff Susi

OPPONENTS OF ALL ABOARD FLORIDA CALLED IT A VALENTINE’S DAY GIFT when Indian River County Medical Center (IRMC) released a February 14 letter sent by president/CEO Jeff Susi to the Governor, elected officials and the Federal Rail Road Administration. IRMC joins two other major medical institutions in doing so.

In case you haven’t read Mr. Susi’s letter, it contains serious health and safety statistics and is entitled “All Aboard Florida Threatens Health and Safety of Indian River County Residents.”

Key excerpts are as follows:

“Indian River County’s population is approximately 140,000 with approximately 90,000 of 64% living west of the proposed train tracks. Our community generates 76,000 visits to the emergency room each year with approximately 57,000 visits to Indian River Medical Center and another 19,000 visits to Sebastian River Medical Center. Both hospitals are located east of the train tracks. Assuming the distribution of emergency visits mirror the population, then 48,640 emergency visits to emergency rooms originate west of the tracks.”

“I have read that approximately 20 freight trains, averaging 8,150 ft in length, and 32 high speed trains will travel through Indian River County daily. If the freight trains travel through the populated area at 30 mph, the total time the 20 freight trains will spend on each railroad crossing will be approximately 61 minutes. If the crossing is closed for one additional minute (time before crossing plus time after crossing) then the total downtime for each railroad crossing will be 81 minutes. If the high speed trains add another 90 seconds for each of 32 trains, that will add another 48 minutes of downtime for a total of over 2 hours per day, excluding any downtime for maintenance or other delays.”

“If you round down to 2 hours downtime over a 24 hour period, then just over 8% of each day will be delayed because of train traffic. That may not seem like much, but it would translate to 8% of 48,640 emergency visits or 3,891 emergency visits experiencing a delay in transport. While not all emergency visits are true emergencies, it would be safe to assume that 5% or 195 critical emergency visits per year would be adversely impacted by the proceed increase of train travel on the current tracks.”

“In healthcare two prime examples of delays in healthcare are related to the treatment of heart attack and stroke patients. If treatment is not delivered within 60 minutes, for a heart patient, heart muscle dies. In the case of stroke patients, care is needed within 180 minutes of permanent damage can occur. Every minute counts.”

“The current plans for All Aboard Florida are simply not acceptable without addressing the adverse impact on health for the people living in Indian River County.”

“A woman died in East Milbury (UK) after paramedics were held up at the Village’s level crossing, an MP has revealed.” (Source: Echo News – 12/5/2013)

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