Hospital essential to New Orleans

Re: “Dueling bills could determine future of New Orleans Adolescent Hospital,” April 3.

Why would anyone in her/his right mind want less mental help for children in New Orleans? New Orleans Adolescent Hospital as a huge asset to the community — a viable, historic building with 124 beds and a staff of 284 devoted to mental health — until the state closed it in 2009.

Children’s Hospital has 33 pediatric beds and has stated no clear intention of adding more, even though it signed a lease promising service equal to New Orleans Adolescent Hospital.

Our own state legislators should all be fighting to provide help to families facing the anguish, helplessness and possible tragedy of raising children deprived of mental help when it matters most. Instead, Rep. Neil Abramson, D-New Orleans, seems to stand alone on the sensible side of this issue.

If Children’s Hospital wants the land but not the required responsibility, it should release its hold on the property immediately so another entity can provide these essential services.

Faye Lieder

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New Orleans