NCH withdraws lawsuit against proposed Ave Maria hospital

A Collier County community deprived of a hospital, forcing people to drive for an hour during an emergency may finally get the care they need.

Naples Community Hospital filed a lawsuit against the proposed 25-bed, acute care hospital shortly after the state approved its certificate of need, but NCH CEO Allen Weiss has stepped down, so the hospital plans in Ave Maria are moving along.

The hospital said in a statement, “NCH has decided to withdraw its legal challenge to the proposed Braden Hospital project to be located in Ave Maria. NCH remains committed to doing all it can to promote the health and well-being of everyone in this region.”

“In some cases a person may die because of the inability to reach a place where they needed to be,” Paul Tamisea said.

Tamisea said it could have been him. He had a double bypass heart surgery and needed to be rushed to the hospital, but the closest one from where he lives in Ave Maria is an hour away.

“Thankfully it was a false alarm,” Tamisea said. “And I think about that, and I think about people who have severe emergencies they need some kind of hospital facility with an operating room available.”

A dead lawsuit is keeping hope alive for the proposed Braden Hospital in Ave Maria.

“Now we can focus on building rather than fighting,” said Daniel Dix, general manager of Braden Clinic.

Nancy Gibbs’ husband has a lung condition.

“When you get to be seniors, and you have more and more health issues, for us, it’s very important that it’s close,” Nancy said. “When you can’t breathe you need to get help right away.”

Braden Hospital representatives said they have four months to present their plan to the Agency for Health Care Administration and hope to have the hospital up and running within two or three years.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of the story misstated the name of the person with a lung condition. The correct person is Mr. Gibbs.

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