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Patient dies after Ill. hospital closes

Michael Yanul lived at Oak Forest Hospital in Illinois for 17 years. He died after he was moved to a nursing home. Michael Yanul lived at Oak Forest Hospital in Illinois for 17 years. He died after he was moved to a nursing home. (M. Spencer Green/Associated Press File)
Associated Press / September 30, 2011

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CHICAGO - A patient who predicted he would not survive a move from a now-closed Illinois charity hospital has died three weeks after his transfer to a nursing home, family and friends said yesterday.

The death of Michael Yanul, 58, who had muscular dystrophy and breathed with a ventilator, raises questions about how Cook County managed patient transfers while closing the hospital in Chicago’s south suburbs.

Facing a multimillion-dollar budget deficit, Cook County converted Oak Forest Hospital to an outpatient center in August to save money. Earlier this year, protesters opposed to closing the hospital took Yanul’s photo to several public hearings. They said they wanted officials to see the face of patients who would be most affected.

The last nine patients, including Yanul, were moved into private homes and other health care facilities by the end of August.

Yanul, who had been cared for at Oak Forest for 17 years, moved into a nursing home chosen by his family Aug. 31. Yanul’s brother, Tom Yanul, said he died Sept. 20 of pneumonia and a blood infection.

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