The move leaves Northwest Indiana's largest city without a hospital
HAMMOND, Ind. (WLS) -- Fencing has now been erected around the emergency department at Franciscan Health Hammond, which used to be called St. Margarget's Hospital.
Officials say the ER will permanently close at noon Saturday.
The hospital had said that patient demand had fallen to a level where it didn't make sense to stay open.
But the mayor of Hammond is furious, calling this hospital closure a "travesty" that is driven by greed.
"Over the last five years, the Hammond Fire Department has brought 27-thousand patients to this ER. Those cases aren't going away," Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. said. "Would you want to be gasping for breath for 10 to 15 minutes extra when you have a hospital right here, that's been here for 120 years."
This comes after an Indiana appellate court essentially lifted an injunction that the city was granted earlier this month that had ordered the hospital's ER to remain open another nine months so the city could find another provider.
The hospital announced the planned closure in November, saying it was averaging fewer than three inpatients a day.
Franciscan said with this closure and consolidation, patients will be better served at its locations in Dyer and Munster, but the move leaves Northwest Indiana's largest city without a hospital.
"This organization has billions in the bank and they pay no taxes. There's a reason they pay no taxes. Part of their mission is to help poor people. But now they're running away where there's no poor people. They want to go where people are wealthy, and you know it's just -- it's really rotten," said McDermott.
"As most ambulances have already stopped bringing patients to Franciscan Health Hammond, we do not expect that closing the emergency department will cause disruption in emergency medical care for residents," Franciscan Health said in a statement. "We believe this decision prioritizes patient safety, which has been our primary concern throughout the legal proceedings."
Hammond's mayor said the city continues to seek another medical provider to serve the area.