New SR hospital open for business

Given the historic political struggles and financial uncertainties involved, some thought they would never see the day that the Santa Rosa area would be home to a new hospital. It turned out that day was Saturday.

That was when the new $292 million Sutter hospital located off Highway 101 near the Wells Fargo Center opened for business, beginning at 8 a.m.

At that hour, as reported by Staff Writer Matt Brown, 14 ambulances began shuttling the 52 patients that remained at the old Sutter Medical Center on Chanate Road. Given that Sutter’s license allows it to operate only one hospital in Santa Rosa, Sutter officials had to make the switch quickly.

It was a bittersweet transition as the debut of the new campus meant the closure of the Chanate facility, originally known as Community Hospital when it opened in 1937. The last patient to leave the old hospital was a 10-pound boy born just before 1 p.m. He was the last child delivered at the old site — and, as with all the other patients, he was safely delivered to the new one. There’s something fitting there.

Peeping toms on patrol

It seems like a scene from a Joseph Wambaugh novel. Then, again Wambaugh, a former cop on the beat, might be offended at the idea of an officer scrolling through photos on a woman’s cellphone while she was being treated in a hospital emergency room and forwarding nude selfies to his colleagues and friends.

A CHP officer in the East Bay admitted his culpability to prosecutors and, according to published reports, described the practice as a widespread game among officers. CHP officials say two officers are under investigation and assert that the practice was limited to the Dublin area office. But one of the officers, Sean Harrington, reportedly told prosecutors he learned about this tawdry “game” while serving in a Los Angeles area office.

We hope the CHP brass is right. But either way, it’s a black eye for CHP.

Clearing the air

We offer thumbs up for two developments involving tobacco.

First is the decision last week by the Healdsburg City Council to limit sales of cigarettes and other tobacco products to those 21 and older. That matches the rules for alcohol and, perhaps more important, acknowledges that many smokers get hooked as teenagers. “Anything we can do to turn the tide on smoking, we have an obligation to do,” Councilman Tom Chambers said.

We doubt that Reynolds American, the maker of Camel cigarettes shares Chambers’ opinion. But the Winston-Salem, N.C.-based company is, wait for it, banning smoking in all of its buildings. “We’re well aware that there will be folks who see this as an irony, but we believe it’s the right thing to do and the right time to do it,” David Howard, a Reynolds spokesman, told Bloomberg News.

To borrow a phrase from cartoonist Garry Trudeau, bravo for life’s little ironies.