So much more to DCHS than financial troubles

I am writing this letter both as a grateful patient and as a proud retiree of Dickinson County Healthcare System. I have been a patient many times at our local hospital and can truthfully say the care has always been exceptional — delivered expertly by well-trained and caring staff.

I worked for 28 years for an employer who sincerely cared both for its employees and the people it served. As I read the many articles that have recently appeared in the newspaper that chronicle our hospital’s current challenges, I felt compelled to write this letter.

Over and over, I read the words “financially troubled” as a description of our local hospital. It saddens me because there are so many more adjectives that can be used to describe this institution.

Over the years, my job in public relations required me to interview physicians, nurses, employees in every department and patients and their families. Those interviews revealed just how dedicated a group of caregivers work here and how much local access to high-quality and safe health care meant to families who did not have to drive to another state to receive care. Employees of a hospital in this small community take to heart that the people who come through the doors are friends, relatives and neighbors who are in need of their help.

Decisions regarding the hiring of physicians and the addition of services have always been made with the patients’ best interests in mind. Services have continued at DCHS because the community needed them; many of those services would have been ended in larger hospitals once they were no longer “profitable.”

Because of this dedication to patients and community, staff routinely go the extra mile and do the extra work it takes to become certified in their fields and to gain national certification for the services they provide. This is no small feat.

Also, the consistent record of providing safe care is a major accomplishment requiring knowledge, teamwork, great attention to detail, and consistent watchfulness for the slightest change in patient condition. The high level of quality care obtainable from such a small community hospital is remarkable because the staff is remarkable.

Our community hospital has been there for all of us for decades. Started by a small group of physicians in a small hospital on Woodward Avenue, they grew to a multi-specialty, award-winning institution and the major employer in our area. Not only have they provided dependable, high-quality medical care but have provided a firm economic base for the area for decades.

Financially troubled — yes, in recent years. But this comes after decades of being there for all of us — day and night — giving the best of themselves to care for us when we are at our most vulnerable. When we were sick and needed their help, they have answered the call every time.

Thank you to the people throughout Dickinson County Healthcare System who continue to care for this community every day. I wish you all the best as you navigate through this challenging transition and am confident that you will continue to do your best for your patients … because that is who you are!