WakeMed wants 'last call' at nightclub

May 27, 2010 4:04:35 PM PDT
The head of WakeMed wants a 'last call' for a Raleigh nightclub. He says the violence at Envy Ultra Bar and Lounge on New Bern Avenue is driving up health care costs for everyone.

WakeMed CEO Dr. Bill Atkinson told ABC11 Thursday there have been too many traumas and too much trouble from their neighbors across the street. He wants them shut down for good.

Two men were shot Monday at the club. One was still being treated at WakeMed Thursday.

There have also been more than 300 calls for service over the last three and a half years - including assaults, rape, stabbings, shootings, and even homicide.

In that case, a drive by shooting from the club continued at WakeMed with bullets hitting the campus. And, that's not all.

"The people who were exchanging gunfire literally drove through our campus at a high rate of speed and threw out one of the injured people on the steps out front," said Atkinson.

That's when Atkinson said he felt enough was enough and hospital officials starting looking into all the police calls.

"1,300 police calls over the last 10 years. Who do you think's paying for that?" he asked.

Atkinson says we all pay since most the victims are young and don't have insurance. The cost ends up in essence being spread among other patients.

The average bill is $38,000 per trauma.

"It has run into the several hundred thousands of dollars over the life of that club and the public is paying for it whether they know it or not," he said.

There's the cost in terms police, fire and paramedics too. After Monday's double shooting, the North Carolina ABC Commission yanked all alcohol permits for the club Wednesday.

ABC11 tried to get comment from club owners for this story, but no one answered the door or our phone calls. It's unclear if they'll be able to stay in business without alcohol sales.

Atkinson hopes not.

"This is a serious, serious problem. It's long overdue in solving I hope we solve it permanently at this point," he said.

City leaders say they're frustrated too. The mayor and city council are working with the city attorney to see if it can be shut down for good.

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