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Posted: 7:28 a.m. Friday, April 5, 2013
GASTON COUNTY, N.C. —
A new slogan for an area hospital is creating controversy Friday.
This week, Gaston Memorial Hospital changed its name to Caromont Regional Medical Center and has a new slogan of, "Cheat death." County leaders are asking why the hospital did it without board or taxpayer approval. "They do not deserve to have a T-shirt in their face that says cheat death when they're drawing their last breath," said Pearl Burris-Floyd, a former N.C. House representative. To many, it just seemed tasteless for a local hospital to adopt a catch phrase: "Cheat death." "Quite frankly, many of the physicians think that it cheapens their practice," said Gaston County Commissioner Jason Williams.
The hospital group says the slogan has a purpose. It says Gaston County ranked 81 out of 100 North Carolina counties as far as health.
"Cheat death" is supposed to launch a whole movement for healthier living with a push for "cheat death" menus at restaurants and "cheat death" workouts at local gyms. In a phone conversation with Eyewitness News on Friday, the hospital's Vice President Penny Cowden said, "Our intention was not to offend anyone." "The citizens of this county own the property and they own the building," said Commissioner Tracy Philbeck of Dallas Township. County leaders said the hospital building is county property and they appoint the board of directors, which was never allowed to vote on the name change or the slogan. They said Gaston Memorial Hospital was supposed to honor veterans. "It's very clear that we want to do something to honor the brave men and women who died here in Gaston County. Gaston Memorial was named for that very reason," Philbeck said. County leaders also said the hospital system recently cut funding to Gaston Family Health Services, which helps 40,000 patients per year -- half of whom do not have insurance.
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