I had the opportunity recently to visit a patient — my best friend — at the new MaineGeneral Medical Center.

As advertised, it is an impressive facility. Good staff, pleasant décor, beautiful grounds, latest equipment and private rooms. It is a dandy hospital. But, like the characters in “Wizard of Oz,” it has three problems.

One: It doesn’t have a single, real name. “General” who? Of course it’s a “hospital.” And, yes, it is a “medical center.” Most hospitals are one. “Maine” has been tacked on too many of our medical buildings already.

It needs a name, something like “Captain Chamberlain Center,” “Augusta Hospital Campus,” even “Alphonse Clinic” would do. The staff doesn’t know what to call it. Ask around if you doubt me.

Two: The design of the road entrances and exits is a true safety hazard. Many people who are not familiar with the bridge and two roundabouts will be going there. Some even will be headed for the emergency entrance.

It is too late to fix this problem. So arrange for the Maine Gazetteer to feature clear instructions, at least, to the emergency and to the main entrances. A full page, well-laid-out map, in local newspapers, also would be helpful for motorists and easy to save in the glove compartment.

Three: The new name then could be posted, at least on Interstate 95 north and south. That would be useful to patients and visitors. All we have now are small “H” signs, northbound before Exit 109 and southbound before Exit 113.

Richard Joseph LaPorte


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