Letter: Hospital needs to improve continuity of care, checks

Editor,

My husband needed to be transported to WhidbeyHealth on a Saturday. It was serious and the paramedics and emergency room staff and physician were excellent, but a carotid doppler was not available until Monday.

My husband could be transferred to Everett for it, but the doctor said if I could get him in to see his provider on Monday and get the carotid doppler done, then it would be OK to take him home.

Since his provider is at WhidbeyHealth’s own clinic, I thought things would go much smoother than they did.

I called the clinic first thing Monday morning and explained what should have already been reported to them, then waited for a callback.

Later, a call came making an appointment with a provider for Wednesday.

He did end up getting the doppler Wednesday night, but it took very frustrating multiple phone calls over a couple of days to a totally unresponsive diagnostic imaging department to finally get it scheduled.

I have had this experience with WhidbeyHealth before, and I always call and try to explain how difficult their system is to navigate.

After all, I worked for them for many years, and I care very much about them, but it never seems to make any difference. It is always the same, no continuity of care, no one checks to see if anything is getting done even when a slightly hysterical wife calls and is greeted with the fact that no one knows who she should talk to to register a complaint. How can that be?

The same place that spent several hundred thousand dollars, or more, for a program called Patients First has no clear path for a disgruntled family member to talk to a person in charge?

On the frontlines, the doctors, the nurses, and the support staff individually do a great job, but there doesn’t seem to be any overall plan.

This is, in my opinion, why the hospital is struggling.

They need to send someone in administration undercover to Island Hospital to see how things are supposed to work. They are not only letting the community down, they are letting a dedicated group of employees down as well.

The next time, God forbid, a loved one of mine needs emergent care, I will ask that they be taken to Island Hospital. I hope WhidbeyHealth administration gets their act together before then.

Pat Wallace

Oak Harbor

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