Lawsuit filed requesting injunction to delay shutdown of EKL

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Those who turn to Earl K. Long Hospital for care will now be forced to go elsewhere, but one woman is doing all she can to delay the process.

Earl K. Long sat nearly vacant Sunday, leaving many fearing the worst for the community it has served.

"I feel like our governor has become a one man wrecking crew," said Dr. Joyce Turner Keller

Turner Keller believes the closing of Earl K. Long is a big mistake and she now has the paperwork to back it up after filing a lawsuit in the 19th Judicial District Court requesting an injunction.

"I've been trying to get a lawyer since last year and finally found someone who would step up with me. I haven't been silent," said Keller.

The lawsuit against Gov. Bobby Jindal and the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals contends that closing the hospital will not save the state money and that alternative care facilities are not yet in place.

"I'm hoping they will delay the closing of Earl K. Long until the urgent care is up and running and we can still receive the same quality of care that Earl K. Long has been giving," Keller added.

Officials from the LSU System say urgent care will be available beginning next week at the clinic just blocks up the road from Earl K. Long. Officials also claim the merger with Our Lady of the Lake will only provide more options for those in need.

"Patients want what we all want, good healthcare," said Kevin Reed, medical director at Earl K. Long Hospital. "It's nice that it's convenient in one spot here and this was where people were comfortable, but they're going to get good healthcare at the 'Lake' with our doctors."

"If you were only spending $48 million to provide those services and you're guaranteeing Our Lady of the Lake $60 million, why? So, how are you saving money, when you're spending more money?" Keller asked.

Questions like those will now be considered by an East Baton Rouge district judge.

"I may not win this fight, but I won't go down without fighting or exhausting every possibility that is before me," Keller said.

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