Letters to the Editor

Whidbey General: Letter seen as insulting

I find absurd Mr. Peter Borden’s call for Dr. Paul Zaveruha to withdraw from the race in the coming November election for hospital commissioner. (Sept. 3, Whidbey News-Times). Mr. Borden is outgoing chairman for Whidbey General Hospital’s Board of Commissioners. Dr. Zaveruha is in private practice and also is Director of Emergency Services. Mr. Borden mentions a potential for conflict of interests. He further threatens Dr. Zaveruha with the inference that if he persists in the race and wins, it might jeopardize his medical staff privileges. I find this insulting.

I came to Whidbey Island in the 1950’s. Since discharge from the Navy I have been a medical staff member at three local hospitals: Skagit Valley Hospital in Mt. Vernon; Island Hospital in Anacortes; and Whidbey General Hospital. All three hospitals have had a physician member on their local boards at one time or another.

When Whidbey General opened its doors just 30 years ago, Dr. Mark Gabrielson was a commissioner. Two other commissioners confided to me that Dr. Gabrielson often helped clarify for the other lay members issues sometimes presented by hospital administration with a one-sided view.

I was on the active staff at Whidbey General from day one until my semi-retirement less than 10 years ago. It is my firm belief that beginning in the 1980’s middle management has grown disproportionately to services. In the 1990’s it has certainly become less doctor friendly. Family physicians are now encouraged to have all their in-hospital admissions cared for by a group of specialists paid for by the hospital.

Under a program called “Patients First,” paid for by taxpayers, a plethora of social workers and nurses are presenting a host of “alternative therapies,” many of which I consider lacking in any common sense. I refer the reader to any issue of “PULSE,” the hospital publication advising the public what a good job they are doing.

It further grieves me as I become aware of an increasing number of people receiving their hospital services at Island Hospital in Anacortes and if they had an emergency would insist on admission there.

Finally, Mr. Borden suggests as his replacement nurse Amy Ayers would be preferable to Dr. Zaveruha. I disagree. I have known Amy for years, ever since she came here as nursing supervisor. I consider her a friend. But she has spent her career here in hospital administration. And administration has been a large part of our hospital’s problem.

Robert L. Goetz, MD

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