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Wednesday, December 07, 2005 9:18 PM
Abandoned Hospital
By Duane Lyon

Dear Concerned Citizens,

I just read the Oct. 5th letter to the editor about St. Mary's Hospital. Many of you know that I invited the media in because political avenues had failed. My main contact was Mary Bleir from Channel 6 and Anna P. from Channel 6. I have spent alot of time in this hospital and want to share these facts with you: There are vials of blood, syringes with needles and unknown liquid in them, prescription and nonprescription medicine, Red Cross records, applications with photos-social security numbers-drivers license numbers, etc., various employee records such as evaluation forms, and every manner of medical record in the old St. Mary's Hospital.

In addition, there's 4 inches of water in the basement. This was in Oct. when we had the second driest Oct. on record. Plus the hospital is over run with asbestos on the pipes, in the walls, on the tile in the floor, etc. Through the EPA/Governor's Office there is now a snow fence around the hospital. After the recent pow wow at City Hall and the County Courthouse I entered the Old Clinic building next door to the hospital. It's full of health clinic/dental clinic records. There's a stairway in the back if you want to help yourself to a new identity. The Attorney General is presently seeking a cash cow to pay for this 1-3 million dollar cleanup. According to the Illinois Hospital Association when a hospital closes records must be maintained for 10 years then if unclaimed they are to be destroyed. When Channel 6 contacted the IHA they said the hospital was not there it had burnt. There had been a fire there, but the hospital had certainly not been destroyed. Bottom line is: this was state government bureaucracy run a muck and a lack of local leadership. Over a decade ago some children went in there and ate medicine and become sick. I'm glad they didn't find the bottles of lab acid that I found. Even 1 year after the hospital closed nearly two decades ago, people entered freely through the emergency room door which was never sealed. Children entered through the morgue window and played. Also, homeless people were sleeping the hospital beds. All of this was common knowledge around much of Cairo. Much of the community just got dumbed down over a period of time.

Remember identity theft was not a hot button issue 20 years ago. This only come out in the tri-state when I convinced Channel 6 to go public with it. I wrote about it in my weekly column, Promise Land News in the Cairo Citizen, for 2 weeks before any major media got involved. Since that time some local publicity hounds ran for the TV camera like roaches out of a burning soup kitchen. They were not a voice but an echo. Friends, we can do better than this and more people should be screaming bloody murder over records laying in the old clinic building now. Remember these records may have asbestos on them and you can't get asbestos out of paper, so citizens cannot go in the there and bag them, put them in a container, etc., etc. There's no money to be easily found, but the old saying is, "The squeaky wheel gets the grease." That's why I'm running for County Commissioner to help create a more hopeful Alexander County. Look at Jerry P. Thurston & friends in Pulaski County, they've gotten things rolling, but you got to have a vision beyond just trying to win an argument with fellow leaders. Success has many fathers, failure is always an orphan. Much of the medical waste I've talked about in this letter I have under lock & key right now. I did show these items to 911 Director Bobby Mayberry and a few other friends. Everything I've talked about is documented. I don't care who gets the credit, I'm interested in getting something positive done and not having children and animals vulnerable. Everyone needs to register and vote. If you don't think I'm the straight shooter I claim to be, please vote for one of my opponents. It's past time for a change. We don't need excuses, we need some leadership.

Thank you for hearing me out, Merry Christmas, Duane "street preacher" "straight shooter" Lyon

Photos of the abandoned hospital archived at

© 2005 The Cairo Gate