To the Editor:
In regards to last week's front page article of large and serious criticism of Blue Mountain Hospital and clinic, I add my own enthusiastic amen!
A concern my wife and I have is the serious lack of capability of the local hospital and clinic in regards to in-depth COVID-19 care and treatment. In spite of the PR song and dance of local administrators, there is virtually no capability or intention of the local Blue Mountain Hospital to provide significant local care or treatment to locals who display obvious evidence of COVID-19 symptoms.
In their own words, in a recent Blue Mountain Eagle piece regarding their COVID-19 care capabilities, Rebekah Rand, director of Emergency Medical Services and emergency preparedness, said: “the hospital has three negative pressure rooms to contain the virus and that the hospital would air ambulance those who have been infected to Bend or elsewhere for more intensive care.”
Put plainly, anyone showing up at the local Hospital with obvious COVID-19 symptoms will be sent to some facility far distant to this area — assuming that those distant facilities even have available space if they are having COVID-19 capacity problems of their own! Additionally, there aren't likely very many locals prepared to make the trip and an extended stay in support of a family loved one who is shuttled to a facility 150 or more miles away from this area — and many elderly are not capable of transportation, self care or treatment on their own.
Added to all the above, though this area has been spared the increases in infections seen in other parts of the state and nation, the reopening of local schools and approaching winter season will likely expose us all to a spike in COVID-19 cases that may well far exceed the intentions or capabilities of the local health care facilities.
The local hospital and clinic administrators we trust with our lives have been seriously slipping in their abilities and responsibilities to the John Day area they supposedly serve. Let's hope these recent events and concerns get the response they seriously deserve!