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Hospital: Patients and patience

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Column by Jim Clark

Trying to follow this controversy concerning Munroe Regional Medical Center is really challenging for those of us who are just simple folk. All these tales of leases and taxes and rankings, etc., can make us dizzy.
I do know one thing. If the Munroe powers-that-be succeed in getting a new tax on the ballot in November, it hasn’t got a snowball’s chance in you-know-where of succeeding, especially in this economy, even if there are some who are willing to pay a little more for the success of the hospital.
All of this talk to get me thinking occurred at the County Commission last week, when a couple of speakers spoke about a recent meeting they had attended concerning the hospital. One said the vote to consider the tax was taken twice and that the reconsideration and the push for the tax may have been illegal. He spoke at length about how he considered the meeting was improperly conducted, not following Roberts Rules of Order.
This got me thinking back to four years ago. I had been having some breathing problems for a few days, and this particular morning woke up really struggling. Every time I exhaled, I gurgled (didn’t mean to gross you out).
I asked my wife to take me to get looked at, and she knew something was wrong because I let her drive. When it comes to being in the car, I’m a control freak.
We went to one of the neighborhood walk-in clinics near my home, where they took one look at me and called an ambulance. I was transported to Munroe (no lights or sirens, thank goodness) where I was examined and admitted.
This is not to say the other hospital isn’t a good one. My father was a pharmacist who worked at both hospitals, but he retired from Munroe and my mom was a longtime volunteer there, so we have just naturally been Munroe oriented.
A week after I was wheeled into Munroe’s Emergency Department, I was walking back into my home, feeling like a new man, and within a couple of days I was back at work (at the time it was in Williston).
To this day, I feel that Munroe, and the cardiologist, Dr. Ali Nasser, who was assigned to me, saved my life. I still go to that cardiologist today. My heart was at about 5 to 10 percent functioning capacity when I went in; today it’s normal for someone my age.
All of this leads me to my reasoning in the hospital dispute. I don’t care who leases it, or who owns it, I just want to make sure it’s there if I should need it again, or if any of my family or friends needs it.
I like to think that there are a lot of people who feel that way. When they’re speeding down the road in a rescue vehicle, they’re not stopping to ask if the hospital is being supported by a tax, if it’s privately leased, or if putting the tax on the ballot was legal. They just want to make sure there will be doctors and nurses waiting for them when they pull in.
In all this discussion, I’m hearing very little discussion about patients. It all seems to be about legalities and money.
In fact, both sides need to have a little more patience, and think about the patients. This thing should be resolved without accusations and finger pointing.
Just make sure that the one pointing is a nurse, saying, “Take him into Room 2.” Getting treatment should be the most important thing for all to consider.

Jim Clark is the editor of the South Marion Citizen. He can be reached at 352-854-3986 or at editor@smcitizen.com.
 

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