I go on Medicare January 1. That being said, the problems at our local hospital are personal. The hospital gave care to my dad instead of our having to travel to Dallas constantly for medical care at the veteran’s hospital there. Chuck Jones saved his life once. Dad died at home at age 87. My mom has had emergency care when she broke first one leg, then a shoulder, and later the other leg. Mom lives on our farm in the county.
Senior adults have stayed in Hopkins County, moved to Hopkins County, and poured thousands of dollars into the local economy. As we who were born here make life choices, many remain and grow old here so that their children can experience the great life offered through schools and family. Many of us who moved away decided to move back. We came back to take care of our parents, to live on our family farms, or to just be in a place that we know is much safer than so many other places. Plus, being in small town America keeps the bureaucracy at a minimum or so we thought.
Now Sulphur Springs and Hopkins County aren’t perfect. It isn’t perfect because imperfect people live here. Not everything about our city or county is perfect. We all complain about the roads and streets, the lack of specific establishments for food or shopping, and a varied desire as variegated as the people here. However, we have been thankful to have a well-equipped and constantly improving hospital locally.
One of the greatest draws for Sulphur Springs has been its hospital. Seniors have enjoyed the personal care they receive and families have felt comfortable and safe knowing that Hopkins County Memorial is a class act with caring staff. Local doctors are experienced in geriatric care as well as care for all ages. Having a hospital nearby instead of a long drive away saves lives. Accidents for all ages on four-wheelers, in autos, on skateboard, on the sports field, in our homes need immediate attention. No one want to go to a town or city “where they don’t know me”.
Now the local hospital is under attack from the bureaucracy. Certainly, there is the desire to have as safe an environment as possible for those who are ill. While a patient at M D Anderson in Houston following two robotic surgeries conducted at the same time on May 2, 2011, the two team’s lead surgeon’s first words to me were, “We’ve got to get you out of here as soon as possible.” Why? Infections are rampant in hospitals, even world renowned hospitals. Yes, hospitals do miss the mark. Remember Presbyterian in Dallas and the problems they faced with Ebola?
Today, rural hospitals in Texas are struggling to stay afloat. Undelivered promises of federal health reform, payment cuts by both government programs and private insurers, small populations, and, yes, just plan government bureaucratic interference.
You say, “Well, they said it is dirty.” My house gets that way too. It isn’t guest perfect all the time. We get busy. It’s safe, just not perfect. My table wasn’t stainless-steel-sterile when my dear wife removed the pump and cleaned the piece of tubing that hung from my arm while taking chemo for several months. That was four years ago.
They say some things in the freezer were old. If you are like me, I check expiration date on everything before I open it or use it.
It’s a hospital, yes. It should have higher standards and meet those higher standards. Our hospital does… on both counts. Do some things need to be made better? Sure. You’re constantly improving your work, your home, your character. Our hospital needs to make improvements also. They are working on it. They will continue to work on it. I consider several members of the hospital board to be friends. I’ve known hospital administrators here since 1985. I even drew up guidelines for the first volunteer chaplaincy program for the hospital in the early ‘90’s. I can say without doubt that Michael McAndrew and the current board are doing what they can to make this hospital a top rural hospital in Texas. I just hope the bureaucrats realize that too.