PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Braddock Mayor John Fetterman faces a misdemeanor charge of defiant trespassing after he was arrested by Pittsburgh Police Monday for refusing to leave the property of the USX Tower on Grant Street.
The skyscraper houses the corporate offices of UPMC. Fetterman has been a long-time critic of UPMC for its decision to close Braddock Hospital. He said he wants UPMC to open up an urgent care facility in Braddock like ones now open in Shadyside and Robinson.
“I didn’t expect to get arrested today,” he said.
He said he did it because he did not receive a reply from UPMC officials attempting to set up a meeting.
Fetterman said he’d like to set up a meeting with UPMC to discuss the needs of people in Braddock and nearby Rankin – people who relied on the now-closed hospital to provide emergency and other medical services.
A clinic across the street from Braddock Hospital was supposed to provide longer hours and expanded services, but Fetterman said so far, it hasn’t been working out.
UPMC closed the hospital earlier this year because it had lost more than $25 million from 2004 to 2009 and the facility had experienced a dramatic decline in admission during that same time.
Meantime, Save Our Community Hospitals, a group in Braddock that opposed the hospital’s closing, thanked the mayor for his concern, but said he was “too late.”
However, in a statement, the group is pushing for UPMC to offer some help.
“SOCH calls on UPMC to, at least, provide free emergency ambulance service for the uninsured who live within the UPMC Braddock catchment area, just as it does for those who have an emergency in the Beacon Hospital catchment area in Ireland.”