Marian Community Hospital Closes

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More than 200 employees at Marian Community Hospital in Carbondale wrapped up their last day of work Tuesday.

The decades-old hospital is now closing its doors for good.

Officials with Marian Community Hospital closed the doors Tuesday evening for good. There was a private candlelight vigil for employees before they left for the day.

The loss of those 230 jobs and the loss of the only hospital in the city still weighed heavy on the minds of employees and former patients.

"I had my daughter Nicole, Michael, Amy, Chuckie, they were all born here. Then they closed the maternity ward and the other two were born down in Scranton," said Barb Sweet of Carbondale.

She is one of the many former patients of Marian Community Hospital who can say the place played an important role in their lives.

The hospital's final day was reserved for employees to pack up the place, but some former patients still stopped by.

"I came over to pick up my medical records. The hospital is closing today, and it's very sad to see the employees in there, very sad," said Gail Fox of Waymart.

The company that owns Marian Community announced back in November it would close the hospital because of rising costs and a shrinking number of inpatients. It is Lackawanna County's last Catholic hospital and the only one in the county's up-valley.

"This was the hallmark of the community. They employed a lot of people and helped a lot of people. They also had a good philanthropy program for those who couldn't afford it," said Tom Vanderhoef of Ararat Township.

Patients will now be referred to hospitals miles away in Scranton and Marian Community's 230 employees are out of a job. Those employees and patients said even though community hospitals across the state are struggling, this one leaves a hole and there is hope that the closure of Marian is not the end of an era.

"I hope not. I hope they do something with it, I really do. I think we need it around here, and it's going to be a long way for people to travel to Scranton and other places," said retired Marian employee Marian Casey.

Since the closure of Marian Community was announced, another health care provider has opened an urgent care center in Carbondale, but city officials said they still hope a company will buy the facility and open another hospital there.

Marian Community Hospital has been a part of the community and a major employer in Carbondale for almost a century.

"I'm a graduate from here, it was st. Joseph's at the time, and I worked here for 20-some years. And I was just a recent patient here. I'm getting some physical therapy, in fact I'm one of the last patients they had here," Casey added.

"I have some resumes floating out there, hoping for the best. Personally, I think this will reopen once the debt is cleared," employee Al Gordon said.

"Some people have been here three times as long as me, 65. They've been here since they were 18. They don't know anything else," said Linda Grasso.

City officials said since any potential buyers would have to assume nearly $40 million in debt there is little hope the hospital will be sold anytime soon.

"Very sad, very sad, end of, I don't know if you'd say the end of an era or end of the road for Carbondale to have an acute care hospital," Grasso added.

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