Hospitals are for babies

Published 7:44 am Saturday, July 1, 2017

Editorial by Bobby Tingle

Orange County has been without a hospital for some time. Although Baptist Hospital closed the remnants of our hospital on Strickland Drive several months ago, the hospital was doing poorly long before then.

Last week, Dawn Burleigh, editor of The Orange Leader, looked at me and asked, “Why do you want a hospital in Orange?”

I stuttered. I have always felt Dawn had most, if not all, of the answers to life’s questions. Why was she turning the tables and asking me for an answer?

After a week of pondering, I have decided I want a hospital so we will have a place for mothers to deliver their babies.

Precinct One County Commissioner Johnny Trahan was sitting still Tuesday, a rare occurrence. I asked if he knew of any active petitions, seeking an election of Orange County voters, for the purpose of establishing a hospital district?

“None that I am aware of,” Trahan said.

Jim Surber, Managing Partner Sabine River Ford, opined, Orange would be more prosperous with a hospital.

Amy Peevey, Johnson’s Mini Storage Manager, wondered out loud if she remembered correctly that the cost of building a new hospital was estimated at $60 million.

I suspect almost everyone in Orange County has a thought, opinion or concern about the lack of a local hospital, and at the same time, a sense of concern and uncertainty about the process of building and maintaining a hospital.

Babies can be born at home.

My bride and I are the proud parents of five children. Not one of them was born at home. We never seriously considered that option. I interviewed one father whose children were born at home. He was confident in his choice and seemed to be at peace with that plan. I never came to that conclusion, nor did my bride, so we took advantage of the local hospital.

But frankly, the option of going to the hospital was something I took for granted. Using the hospital did not require a lot of pre-planning; it was close, viable and reliable. Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals were readily available. On one occasion, we needed those services in an emergency situation. The outcome could have been much different had the ambulance, hospital, emergency room and hospital not been near.

When Dawn asked me why I wanted a hospital last week I really didn’t have a good response. But after a week, I can confidently answer her question. I have some very selfish reasons.

Selfishly, I also want a hospital because I want economic prosperity.

With prosperity, property values increase and my investment in property in the City of Orange increases.

With prosperity, retailers in Orange thrive, which creates opportunity for competitors and the need for marketing services The Orange Leader provides.

With prosperity, the community is on the move, creating events readers want to know and hear about, and The Orange Leader is here to provide a forum for that news.

Like a lot of people my world tends to revolve around me, as you can see from the statements above. But, if all that prosperity came to pass in my world, I suspect we all benefit.

Of course, Amy’s question about the cost points out the flip side of the coin.

There is risk involved in establishing a hospital. We have experience with hospital failure as proof of the risk.

We ought to be prudent as we consider establishing a hospital.

But, a hospital is the best place for delivering babies.


Bobby Tingle is publisher of The Orange Leader. You can reach him at