RELEASE: Reps. Shusterman, Williams, Howard joint statement on health care access following recent violence

CHESTER COUNTY, Feb. 17 – State Reps. Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery, Dan K. Williams, D-Chester, and Kristine Howard, D-Chester, have released a joint statement following the violent attack that occurred at Lincoln University on Wednesday night.

“We were appalled to learn this morning of the three students stabbed in a Lincoln University dorm room last night. While many details are still unknown, we do know that one of the victims was pronounced dead at the scene and that the other two victims were taken to Christiana Hospital – some 26 miles away – for treatment.

“Twenty-six miles is no short ride under the best of circumstances, but when the circumstances are literally life and death, 26 miles is endless.

“Until December, hospital care for Lincoln University students was just four miles away at Jennersville Hospital. Unfortunately, Jennersville closed at the end of 2021. This was followed by the closure of Brandywine Hospital in Caln Township last month. These closures were the result of a sale that fell through.

“While the victim who was killed died before help could arrive, it is hard to believe a closer treatment option would not have made a difference in only slightly different circumstances, or that a timelier arrival may have changed this outcome. Whether you have a broken arm or COVID-19 symptoms or you are giving birth, time is a serious factor.

“Last night’s tragic and shocking events are a stark reminder that when it comes to health care, proximity matters. Thankfully, a Chester County judge has ordered Tower Health to resume the sale of both hospitals to Canyon Atlantic Partners. This order will not immediately reopen the hospitals, but it is a step in the right direction.

“This is also why we have authored legislation to require additional state oversight of the sale of hospitals and hospital systems, hopefully preventing future closures.

“But more importantly -- today, we pray for the victims of this crime and for their families and loved ones.”