Letter: Access to local health care is important


Twelve years ago, my husband had a stroke 10 days after moving to Whidbey Island. The ambulance took him to WhidbeyHealth, where he was stabilized and airlifted to Harborview Medical. We had no primary care physician on the island, but 48 hours later the doctors at WhidbeyHealth helped us make our way through all the steps so that my husband could be released back home to Whidbey on hospice care.

Eight years ago, my 25-year-old niece was visiting us on Whidbey. In trying to break up a squabble between our dogs, she was bitten and had to be taken to the ER at WhidbeyHealth, where she received excellent care and was released with referrals for follow-up treatment.

In early summer, my sister came down with a cough and slight fever. Of course, the fear was that she had contracted COVID. One call to WhidbeyHealth and she was scheduled for a COVID test the following day. The testing process was quick and organized and results available two days later.

I am a 71-year-old woman, in pretty good health, but periodically need x-rays, mammograms and ultrasounds. I have friends who need chemotherapy infusions, orthopedic services, health care screenings and emergency care. I know a 90-year-old mother who receives palliative care.

There’s just no doubt in my mind, access to essential health care services locally is needed by every resident and visitor to Whidbey Island.

Our community continues to deal with the challenges brought about by a pandemic. As we know, it came on suddenly and unexpectedly nearly two years ago. We were not prepared for what would lie ahead. WhidbeyHealth was not prepared for what would lie ahead. In addition to the tragic loss of lives and serious illnesses for our friends and neighbors, the coronavirus pandemic caused a massive financial loss for WhidbeyHealth. More than ever, taxpayer support of our local hospital is crucial to maintaining services and meeting the expanding and often unexpected medical needs of each of us.

I am writing in support of Proposition #1. If approved, Proposition #1 will increase real property taxes, the first increase in the 57-year history of WhidbeyHealth. This increase will address additional staffing needs, increase wages for support and clerical staff, focus on recruiting additional providers, and improve the IT and communications systems.

Access to quality health care, close to home is important. It is our safety net when emergencies happen and medical care is needed. Please join me in support of WhidbeyHealth and vote “yes” for Proposition #1 ion Nov. 2.

Pam LeLoup


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