Hospitals never close, I promise! You know it, I know it, but try explaining it to a four-year old.
As you’re aware we’ve had a little winter weather over the past couple of weeks. Schools were closed, daycares were closed, many businesses were closed and even some of our services were closed but the hospital never closes.
Last Tuesday my son’s daycare was closed so he spent the day at home with his mommy. With the assistance of four-wheel drive, a few choice words and prayer I was able to make it to the hospital early Tuesday morning. As I walked through the halls and visited with staff in various departments I learned of staff who; stayed all night at the hospital in anticipation of the storm, staff who rented rooms at the hotel across the street so that they could walk to work, staff who carried shovels in their car, and used them, to dig their cars out of the ditch as they drove to work, staff who gave other staff a ride and some who walked over two miles to get here and do you know why?
Because hospitals never close.
I went home late Tuesday afternoon to clean the snow from my driveway so my wife could get her car out and after I finished I went back into the house to get dressed to come back to the hospital. While I was getting dressed my son asked where I was going. I responded “I’m going to work at the hospital” to which he replied “It’s cancelled because it snowed”.
If you think about his point of reference what he said makes sense. What he knows is that when it snows you’re routine changes, things get cancelled and you stay home. I told him that people still get sick and people still need help, even when it snows. He thought about what I told him and then said “Can I go to the hospital with you”.
The answer was obviously “no” but it’s good to know the hospital was open and available if he really needed it – even on a day that it snowed.
I hope that legislators in Washington realize the commitment hospital staff have to patient care as demonstrated in their remarkable efforts to make themselves available during last week’s snow storm. I also hope that I will always be able to say to my son “hospitals never close”.
If legislators fail to protect rural hospitals there is a chance the hospital you need may be closed when you need it most.