Letter to editor

Editor: 

My name is David Jost. I am a nurse in the emergency department at the hospital [Jackson County Regional Health Center] and have worked there for over 20 years. First let me say I speak only for myself and not the hospital staff or management. I have been reading articles by different members of the community that frustrate me. This was brought forth again by one of the candidates for the hospital board.

He talks about not needing a new hospital. The only thing I will say about that is when your car gets to a certain point, you stop sinking money into it and buy a new car.

My real frustration is the comments he and other people have made about the hospital needing to provide emergency care on the spot, without shipping patients out to other hospitals. We are, by definition, a Critical Access Hospital. Our job is to diagnose, stabilize, and when needed, transfer the patient to an appropriate facility that is equipped and staffed to provide the care needed by a specialized, higher level of care.

In order to treat all emergencies here we would need to have the needed specialty equipment and surgical areas for cardiac catheterization, multiple other surgery specialties, and other specialties such as pulmonary services. We would need to have the specialist physicians in multiples for each area, since you are not going to find one to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You would have to have the trained surgical teams for those specialties in multiple numbers, again because no one will be on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You would need to have an increased number of hospital beds with trained staff to care for the patients with a surgical floor, neurology floor and other specialties.

Since the area does not provide enough business to cover these specialties at our hospital, the county would have to provide funding at a large expense to cover these costs. Also the present facility and planned facility do not have enough room for all the specialties needed and would require building a much larger and more expensive facility.

It is because time is critical in some situations that we call for helicopters to transfer quickly, or even have them come to the scene of bad accidents to get patients to the larger hospitals and trauma centers. We perform our job here, stabilizing as best can be done and giving our patients the best chance they can have.

David Jost, RN

Maquoketa