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WATTS : Group Seeks Funds to Revive King-Drew

September 12, 1993|SANDRA HERNANDEZ

Nicolle Glover still gets angry when she remembers the day her father was taken to Martin Luther King-Drew Medical Center after an apparent heart attack.

"I was livid," Glover said. "I had to take my father out of the emergency room and take him somewhere else because he had been waiting for six hours."

Glover wrote an angry letter to hospital administrator Edward Renford complaining about the treatment her father received. Renford invited Glover to a meeting, at which her anger became tempered by concern.

"Ed kept telling me about all the things the hospital lacked," Glover said. "And I said, 'Well, don't you have a fund-raising arm?' And Ed said no. I just couldn't believe it."

Nearly two years after Glover went to the King-Drew emergency room with her father, she is president of the General Hospital Foundation.

The foundation's board, a group of 13 residents from throughout the city who came together in April, is trying to draw money and attention to the hospital.

"I live on the Westside and I've been to hospitals before, but when I came here (to King-Drew) I saw things that I couldn't believe," said Arthur Kraus, chairman of the AFP Group and a member of the foundation's board.

"I couldn't talk when I went into the neonatal unit," he added, saying he was shocked by the conditions.

So far, the group has secured a $25,000 pledge from St. Ides Premium Malt Liquor at the request of rapper Ice Cube, according to Julia Richmond, assistant hospital administrator. Ice Cube, who makes a reference to King-Drew in one of his songs, made the request after doctors at the hospital contacted him, she said.

The foundation has also received $7,500 from the Provident Life & Accident Insurance Co. of Chattanooga, Tenn., Glover said.

First on the foundation's list is getting equipment for the neonatal intensive care unit. The foundation has bought 40 medical infusion pumps to help dispense medication to infants who are being fed intravenously. The hospital's 10-bed neonatal care will be expanded to 20 beds when the new equipment comes in later this year.

"The reason we need a foundation is they can go out and tap resources," Renford said. "People expect the hospital administrator to say the hospital has needs, but when Nicolle or Art say it, there is credibility to it that captures people's attention."

The 480-bed county hospital treats about 215,000 patients a year, admitting about 31,400 of them. Richmond said the hospital treats nearly 20% of the city's trauma cases, even though it is designated to serve only 12%.

For their part, the foundation's board members are sending out a stern warning in their effort to reach their $100,000 goal by the end of the year.

"If we don't do this, if we don't help this hospital, then it will be gone and the need will be greater," Kraus said. "Look, this is a community hospital, but it serves more than just residents because it frees up hospitals on the Westside, so funds have to come from everyone at large."

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