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Concerns over Sunbury Hospital Closure

SUNBURY, Pa. –- A hospital that has been serving the Sunbury community for 125 years is set to close in a matter of weeks. The closure of UPMC Susquehanna Sunbu...

SUNBURY, Pa. –- A hospital that has been serving the Sunbury community for 125 years is set to close in a matter of weeks.

The closure of UPMC Susquehanna Sunbury will have a ripple effect on the region.

The mayor held a council meeting Tuesday night to address those concerns.

Officials with UPMC said 153 people work at the hospital in Sunbury.

The loss of the city’s only hospital brought a packed house to the city hall.

“People need to think about the effect it's going to have on the lives and the deaths that's going to be there. It really breaks my heart to see this happen,” UPMC Susquehanna Sunbury nurse Holly Comfort said.

These are the kinds of fears people in Sunbury are worried about.

UPMC Susquehanna Sunbury announced its closing its doors at the end of March.

UPMC said the closure comes because patients are going to other hospitals for their care.

Patients and nurses said the exact opposite at the council meeting.

Jennifer Dailey is worried about response times.

“It hurts because I remember holding a dying man, crying to EMS, 'where the hell are you?' Waiting for somebody from another town to come and, in the end, had to go on the bird to the local hospital, and he didn't make it,” Dailey said.

Now, the closest hospitals are about 15-20 minutes away from Sunbury.

Patients from all over the region came to this meeting, saying they have come to trust the staff at the hospital in Sunbury.

“I was not scared because I knew if I came here, you were going to take care of me, and it was so important,” Michelle Siegel of Selinsgrove said.

Mayor Kurt Karlovich said state and local politicians are networking to see if there is a way to get another hospital to take the place of UPMC Susquehanna Sunbury, keeping in mind that UPMC currently owns that property.

“They already declared that they are shutting it down at the end of March of this year, but what are the actual plans for the property itself? Once we figure that out, we can gather all of the information we have from our local and state officials and find out a response,” Mayor Karlovich said.

The health system is looking to relocate as much of the staff as possible, potentially to hospitals in nearby Williamsport and Muncy.

This Thursday, PA Careerlink is also hosting a health care job fair in response to the hospital’s closure from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Albright Center in Sunbury.