It is hard to overstate the vital role a stable West Suburban Medical Center must play in Oak Park, River Forest and the West Side. News Monday that its current owner, Pipeline Health, has declared bankruptcy is deeply troubling.

That negotiations we thought were nearly complete for Pipeline to sell the hospital yet again have stalled is especially worrisome.

The days ahead will be critical to saving West Sub, its safety-net health services, its jobs and its declining institutional role in our communities.

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