In medical emergencies, every minute matters and as Orchard Hospital RN Jay Croy has written in his weekly columns, 33 minutes, the time it takes to drive to an out of town hospital could mean the difference between life and death.

As a Critical Access Hospital, Orchard Hospital treats emergency patients who are transported there before they are sent off to a trauma center and the lifesaving measures given at Orchard Hospital mean that the patient has received the necessary treatment saving valuable time.

Friends often tell me of a loved one who has been taken to Orchard Hospital with either a stroke or a heart attack for example and received the necessary care often times being sent to a local trauma center such as Enloe.

I have experienced this myself plenty of times having been through Orchard's ER and bringing loved ones, some having to be transferred to other facilities.

A greater proportion of stroke patients who arrive at the hospital in the first 60 minutes after symptom onset - the so-called "golden hour" - receive thrombolytic therapy than those who arrive later.

Patients given a blood thinning drug to restore blood flow in the brain within 90 minutes of their symptoms were two and a half times more likely to have a good recovery than those not given the drug.

Two million brain cells die every minute during a stroke, increasing the risk of permanent brain damage, disability or death.

Though Orchard Hospital's Emergency Department would not close if Measure M does not pass in Biggs, Gridley and Richvale, it would mean cuts would be required to provide keep the ER open in our community.

The proposed $330,000 raised annually from Measure M would help immensely in keeping the ER staff available at all times. The assessment does not pay for uninsured patients. It pays for standby expenses for keeping the emergency room open 24/7.

Dozens of communities through California have passed local funding measures to help their local hospitals, clinics or emergency services.

Join these communities and vote yes for Measure M for your emergency department.

Measure C was passed in 2006 for the Emergency Department at $70 per family dwelling parcel and has helped greatly in keeping the hospital's ER open 24 hours. This 10 year measure is up for renewal on this year's ballot and is more important than ever. The hospital's Emergency Department loses $1 million a year. When Measure C was passed, it was less than half this amount.

Vote Yes on Measure M.