Letters to the Editor

'Yes' vote will fight infections

Death from hospital-acquired infections can and do happen. My stepfather went into a crowded Florida hospital in 2004 for an unrelated infection; within a month he died of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERSA (methicillin-resistant staph aureus), both hospital-acquired infections.

In 1964, I graduated from a nursing school associated with a large, highly acclaimed hospital that had 10-bed wards, semi-private, and private rooms.  Rooms were assigned to patients based on what they could afford to pay, not on what their need was. While good hand washing was emphasized over and over again, infections were common.

In 2008, after my first round of chemotherapy, I was hospitalized at Whidbey General Hospital because of a high fever and severe pain. My white blood count was nearly nonexistent, meaning I was vulnerable to any infectious organism anywhere around me. I was isolated in a semi-private room and remained the only patient in that room in an attempt to protect me from infection. With precautions and excellent care, I recovered without infection.

I will vote “yes” to support the private room expansion to Whidbey General Hospital. While privacy is important, preventing infection is more important for my family and for me, and should be for anyone who understands the risks of acquiring infections in crowded hospital settings, and yes semi-private is considered crowded in today’s world.

Barbara Tobin Wihlborg
Oak Harbor


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