BOOTHBAY HARBOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Residents and selectmen from four towns met Wednesday to talk about the closing.
The Boothbay region is trying to decide how to move forward with the pending closure of its emergency room. The emergency room at Saint Andrews hospital is slated to close next spring because of a lack of patients.
Selectmen from Boothbay, Edgecomb, Southport, and Boothbay Harbor listened to the frustration and sadness over losing the emergency room, and some ideas on what to do about it. They discussed how the closing will affect ambulance services and the impact it will have on the nearest hospital, Miles, in Damariscotta. The selectmen discussed forming a task force to deal with the issue. A lot of the unhappiness is over how Maine Health decided to close the ER, without any input from the community. The selectmen asked the people at Wednesday's meeting not to be negative about the situation, but that was difficult for this emotional crowd.
"My feeling about St. Andrew's is a personal one," Tom Nickerson of Boothbay said. "It's awful nice to have a dying parent and be able to sit and have lunch with them in a bed at St. Andrews. That's going to be gone."
They did it in the dark and they treated us like they do mushrooms," another resident told the crowd. "You grow mushrooms in a coal mine in the dark and you feed it horse manure. What you have here are a couple hundred mushrooms. They made up their mind in the dark, no talking to anyone. I live in Cameron Point. I've lived there 40 years. At least ten people in that neighborhood have had their lives saved, including me, at St. Andrews hospital.
The emergency room is expected to close and be replaced with an urgent care center next April.