Wednesday St. Elizabeth Central’s ER closes for good

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Dr. Ed Eppler works at Franciscan St. Elizabeth Central and at Saint Elizabeth East, but Wednesday, he knew where he wanted to be.

“I chose to work here on the last day and shut it down,” Eppler said.

Eppler started his residency at the central emergency room in 1997. He was not the only one who wanted to close down the ER on its last day.

“My friends are here,” Eppler said. “The people who taught me how to practice medicine, the nurses and the staff I grew up learning how to practice medicine are here right now.”

Franciscan St. Elizabeth Health CEO Terry Wilson said throughout the years people have been choosing to go to the east campus, and numbers at the central ER have fallen.

He said it is also expensive to operate two emergency rooms a few miles a part. After the ER moves out, an urgent care will move in.

“We expect that to happen between now and the end of the month,” Wilson said.

For West Lafayette residents this means the closest ER is now farther away. So, we timed the drive.

In minimal traffic from the 231 corridor, it took 24 minutes to get to Franciscan’s east campus. Just a few more minutes down the road you are at IU Health Arnett’s emergency room.

Obviously, the time would be cut down for those using an ambulance, but Mayor John Dennis said he hopes one day the ride will get even shorter since Franciscan St. Elizabeth Health plans to develop on 231.

“Our hope is sometime in the future they will develop an emergency department there because that is exactly what this community needs,” Dennis said.

Terry Wilson said there is no need right now to have to lay off anyone because of the closure.

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