Where is the sense in hospital parking policy?

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To the Editor:

At 2:30 am Wednesday, I was diagnosed at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital’s emergency room with both pneumonia and the flu. As usual, the doctors and nurses were fantastic, and I was sent on my way with medications that would eventually help me feel better. What was extremely discouraging about my hospital experience was the fact that I wasn’t allowed to park anywhere close to the entrance of the emergency room, because those spaces are reserved for fuel-efficient vehicles only. Upon leaving the hospital, I walked back to my truck through the rain and wind, and had to stop in one of the many empty fuel-efficient-vehicle-only spots to catch my breath for a few minutes before continuing the march the rest of the way to my non-fuel-efficient vehicle.

By the time I made it back to my truck, I was drenched and cold, and felt worse than I did when I first entered the hospital. I am a blue-collar worker whose work truck doubles as my personal vehicle. I have a family of six, so we also own a used Sequoia for our family transportation. I can’t afford to buy a hybrid SUV, and as a result, I am being punished when it comes to parking at the hospital. Am I wrong, or does this policy make no sense at all? Why should fuel-efficient vehicle drivers be rewarded with more convenience than the next person when it comes to hospital accessibility? I can’t say enough good things about our Island hospital, but their fuel-efficient-vehicle-only parking policy is one that I hope they will consider changing.

Kevin Oliver
Chilmark