Letters to the Editor

Hospital bond is essential | LETTER TO THE EDITOR

To the editor:

Voting to support this bond is essential if Whidbey General is to continue providing great care to island residents.

We've all heard the arguments that we cannot afford this bond and even, that private rooms are a "luxury."

Yes, it is an additional cost, but as I paid my taxes last week I noticed that even though the proportion of the taxes going to the hospital is very small, it is a great investment in our community.

By supporting the hospital, it rubs off on the rest of the community. With up-to-date facilities, we can recruit excellent providers, which reassures people who move to the island. I have often had calls from people looking at the healthcare resources before they decided to move to the island. When they heard that there were hospital and cancer care resources available, they felt much better - and have loved that they can get care locally, without traveling off-island. When some have had to be hospitalized, their feedback has been positive, especially if they had a private room.

I had the chance to hear from a community member who has lived on the island for many years - one of the first patients hospitalized 40-plus years ago, when it was a state-of-the-art facility and the care was great.

Last year, her husband was hospitalized, and had a roommate. She told me their experience was less than great. The care was great, but not the physical environment. Not only worrying about her husband's health, but the energy she felt concerning the serious illness of his roommate. There was no privacy, and caring about both people was not a healing environment.

As a nurse, I often spend time with patients working with them on pain and symptom management, or talking with them about their cancer care. They are usually in a private room, but when there is a roommate, it is very difficult to have a private conversation with them, along with any family members with them.  I cannot just pull the curtain and whisper when the person is either hard of hearing or there is family present.

These comments have focused primarily on the privacy and healing environment, and I'd like to add one more comment on the physical needs of the building. The physical structure is 40 years old.  The bathrooms are tiny, so a patient cannot be in the bathroom with the IV pole, not to mention the nurse that might need to help the patient stand up or sit down. The implementation of an electronic medical record will be difficult, if not impossible to accomplish without extensive renovation.

Finally, I have a concern about those who say they'll vote no and will get their care at some other hospital supported by some other community. My sense is that many of those people are the same ones who support the cutbacks of social support services, and complain about people who get support from the state. When they use facilities in other communities, that were supported by others, aren't they doing the same thing?

Whidbey General has historically been thrifty when undertaking building projects; the designs you see are pleasant and modest, compared to many hospitals.

I don't like paying taxes as much as the next person, but I do believe we have responsibility to support our community to make it a better place to live.

Renee Yanke

Manager

Medical Ambulatory Care/Oncology

Whidbey General Hospital

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