Cheering state Sen. Steve Ogden's efforts to insist UTMB be rebuilt, Swartz predicts that:
unless Ogden prevails, UTMB will face inevitable death. Ogden is keenly aware that as an Aggie challenging the most powerful teasips, he’s vulnerable to criticism that he has it in for A&M’s longtime rival. Even so, he’s persisted. He understands that the proposed reduction in the number of hospital beds means a reduction in the number of patients needed to support a viable medical school; in order to become the best doctors, students need patients with a variety of illnesses and injuries. Victims of local emergencies, from car accidents to refinery explosions, would no longer have a Level I trauma center at their disposal; they’d have to depend on an ambulance or a helicopter to get them to Houston. Certainly Galveston’s residents would suffer financially and medically with a reduced UTMB, but so too would all the overcrowded public hospitals in Texas that would then have to take in more uninsured patients, or simply turn them away without treatment. “The longer the hospital stays out of commission the more people forget,” one longtime Island resident told me.To be fair, Swartz's article and Sen. Ogden understate the enormous problems with investing so much in infrastructure on a hurricane-prone barrier island. It's possible that's just an untenable idea that must be fundamentally reconsidered. But if UTMB isn't going to rebuild its medical infrastructure in Galveston, that leaves as an open question what happens to prison health care UTMB was previously providing through that facility.
Maybe that’s just what the regents are hoping for.