Two doctors from Boston Children's Hospital are trying to provide affordable international health care by building a hospital in northern Scotland, but nearby residents say the proposed construction site is asbestos-ridden and poses grave health risks.
Dr. Raphael Levey and Dr. Angelo Eraklis, of the Harvard-affiliated Boston hospital, are planning to build a facility to treat international patients who cannot afford medical prices in this country. But the site they have chosen for the venture in Clydebank, Scotland is an old shipyard whose remains, which include asbestos pipes, litter the land.
According to Dr. Levey, all remaining asbestos is being removed before construction will begin. Levey added that before the hazardous materials are taken to a safer site, they arebeing submerged in water to prevent asbestosfibers from contaminating the air.
"Two engineering committees have beencommissioned by the Scottish government todetermine whether it is safe to move the asbestos.They found that it would be safer for thecommunity to move it than not to," Levey said.
"If the engineers who are now removing theasbestos find that it is not a safe site for thehospital then we will move it," Eraklis said.
Members of the industrial town have launchedwhat the Clydebank Post calls "a massive campaignagainst the planned private hospital," because ofpotential health risks from the removal of thecancer-causing substance.
"The campaign will involve publicizing allgrounds of opposition, encouraging publicopposition to planning permission and extendingthis to adjacent local authority areas," DannyMcafferty, the leader of the opposition group toldthe Clydebank post.
"You just can't build a hospital on top of anasbestos site," said Elizabeth Epstein, a Bostonmusic teacher who was born in Clydebank. She addedthat she is very worried about her old home town."It seems to me that the removal of asbestos isputting the whole community at risk."
The idea for the hospital, which will have noconnections with Harvard or the Children'sHospital was conceived eight years ago, saidLevey. "It will be a hospital for advanced medicalcare for people who find it too expensive to cometo the United States."
"The site was chosen to reduce unemployment andto stir growth in a highly depressed community,"said Eraklis in response to claims made byopponents that the site was chosen because theasbestos deposits made it less expensive.
Levey and Eraklis will present the project tothe Harvard medical community on Wednesday,December 9 at 8:30 a.m. "We will then discuss thepractical and philosophical objectives behind theproject," Eraklis said