Protesters aim to save Cooper Green inpatient care - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Protesters aim to save Cooper Green inpatient care

Protesters aim to save Cooper Green inpatient care

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BIRMINGHAM - AL -

 

A vote on whether to close inpatient services at Cooper Green - led to a protest. that protest delayed their decision. We don't yet know when a decision will come, but if Cooper Green were to close, the commission president says it would be December before it could take effect. 

"you're going to have to carry me out because I'm not going to walk out of here," A protester cried out during the meeting as security tried to escort her out.

"There is a feeling by a majority of the commissioners that based on the public comment, based on the information we have available, it's time to make a decision," Commission President David Carrington said.

What started as a vote to close Cooper Green's inpatient services, turned into a demonstration - both inside and outside the Jefferson County Courthouse.

"We had determined, that we were ready to go to jail today," Bishop Calvin Woods, a civil rights activist said. "You have to be ready to go everyday."

"Healthcare in this country is important because of the people out of work and the ones who have jobs  do not have the health benefits they need," Representative Mary Moore, Dt. 59 said.

"Commissioners, I am totally disappointed at this point for such a critical, serious issue about people's lives," Commissioner Sandra Little Brown said during the meeting.

"I am in favor of closing the emergency room and opening a 24 hour urgent care center," Commissioner Joe Knight said as the audience started to yell. "I was respectful to you while the other commissioners spoke," Knight said after an audience member called him "coward." 

"Today they were really trying to do it, but if it had not been for the uproar in the chambers, they would have done it," Brown said.

Much of the uproar today, centered on a new resolution - presented by Commissioner Jimmie Stephens. Stephens called for an amendment - to not only shut- down inpatient services, but he added the emergency room to the chopping block too. 

Commissioners Brown and Bowman were quick to respond saying they didn't know of the changes until today's meeting and Commissioner Bowman explained, an important piece was missing.

"The county manager authorized and put together this impact report," Commissioner George Bowman said. "He was supposed to brief this today. They did not allow him to provide this for the public."

That discussion led to shouts from the audience and a call for recess.  When the commission returned, they finished business as usual and delayed the Cooper Green vote. There is no set date for when it will come up again, but they are required to provide 24 hours notice.