While much of the immediate attention and help has gone the way of the 1,000-plus employees affected by Our Lady of Bellefonte’s impending closure, the innumerable patients can’t be lost in the shuffle.

Thanks to a strong community — and a solid medical community — they haven’t been.

Ralph and Cathy Campbell voiced the thoughts shared by so many in the area in a story published in Monday’s edition of The Daily Independent.

When the end-of-care date — which was originally announced as “by Sept. 30” — became April 30, several people who have grown to love Bellefonte for its quality care reacted on social media and elsewhere.

Many of the comments had the same tone. So many are just sad to see the 214-bed hospital  — and several accompanying facilities — close.

“I remember going here when I was little,” wrote one reader on Facebook. “There was only one floor and the front entrance was the emergency entrance. … Seeing this place go is heartbreaking.”

Pat Ball has noticed a somewhat positive response amid the unsettling news in Russell.

“I’ve been checked in since Tuesday,” wrote Ball, who was staying until Saturday. “Talking to a lot of people and most of them have other plans. I hate the whole thing like poison, but I am encouraged at how well the people I’ve met seem to be handling it.”

As Ralph Campbell said, it will be extremely difficult for patients to start over if they’ve grown accustomed to Bellefonte.

“I’ve been to several hospitals and, of all of them, Bellefonte gives the best personal care,” Campbell said. “I think they are by far the best.”

April 30 will mark the end of an era, something with which this area is entirely too accustomed. As we try to stick together and recover, we hope all regular OLBH patients find suitable care without having to venture too far. The good news is many of these caring employees are landing elsewhere — KDMC, SOMC and Cabell Huntington are among several of those spots.

The quality care can continue.

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