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When healthcare workers at Olympia Medical Center reported for work on New Year’s Eve, they were prepared for another grueling day of patient care amid L.A.’s worsening COVID-19 surge. What they weren’t prepared for was the laminated paper taped to the front door.

“Olympia Medical Center has elected to voluntarily suspend all patient care services, including the emergency department and all emergency medical services, as of 11:59 p.m. on March 31, 2021,” the notice said.

Employees were outraged, blindsided and concerned, with one medical staff officer calling it a “terrible public health mistake” to close an L.A. hospital in the midst of the pandemic.

“How can we be having an acute-care hospital shut down by March 31 when we need hospital beds, when they’re putting up field hospitals and asking Navy ships to come back?” said the officer, Dr. Don Schiller. Any patients who remain at Olympia on April 1, he noted, will have to be transferred to another hospital because all clinical activity will stop.

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