Newly Unemployed Protest Outside UofC

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The University of Chicago Medical Center is the biggest and best hospital on the South Side, and there is a fear about the reach and quality of health care for all south side residents.

    CHICAGO -- Just when the economic recovery package passed the U.S. Senate on the way to creating new jobs, an angry protest developed outside the University of Chicago's Medical Center.

    A day after 450 jobs were cut, former employees expressed their outrage.

    "You would think they were General Motors or Ford, or one of the banks that's in big trouble, but this is not the case. This is sheer arrogance," protest leader Richard Berg yelled through a megaphone.

    Newly Unemployed Protest Outside UofC

    [CHI] Newly Unemployed Protest Outside UofC
    The University of Chicago Medical Center is the biggest and best hospital on the South Side. But with hundreds of jobs being cut, there is a fear about the reach and quality of health care in the area.

    "I know I was needed. I was support to two pediatric surgeons," said 14-year veteran and mother of six, Sheri Taylor-Kennedy, one of the many who lost their jobs in Monday's efforts to reduce the budget by $100 million.

    "I was informed that my position had been eliminated, and I have 30 minutes to gather my belongings and be escorted off the premisis," Taylor-Kennedy said, describing her experience Monday.

    In turn, critical functions like the emergency room will undergo critical reviews under the belief that almost half of the patients don't really need emergency care.

    "As students, we care about our health care, and we also care about the health care of the people who live in the neighborhoods right next to us," said student Duff Morton.

    Indeed, the University of Chicago Medical Center is the biggest and best hospital on the South Side, and there is a fear about the reach and quality of health care for all south side residents.

    "They're (health care providers) holding onto their cash," executive recruiter Barry Cesafsky said, describing what he says is becoming a precautionary trend. "They're saving. They're hunkering down until things get better."

    While union leaders rallied the rank and file to fight back, the medical center's public relations team made mental notes nearby, and doctors who were watching said they found it tough to swallow.

    "This is an illustration of what happens when there is no national health care system," said Canadian-born cardiologist Dr. Stephen Archer. "You can't solve national health care problems on the back of individual hospitals."