I had the privilege of participating in a briefing from our regional hospitals. To say the information was sobering, is an understatement. While we read in the news what their numbers are and we know that is ever-changing, it was helpful to hear them break down the numbers and explain why they are beyond capacity yet may have “open beds.” Beds are dedicated to specific things such as pediatrics, psychiatry, babies, adults, etc. They are doing their best to use feasible spaces when one area is on overflow. Each hospital shared their current numbers in regard to beds filled, ICU, COVID vs. non-COVID, ventilators and vaccination numbers. They shared their concern of competition for traveling staff, the need to have National Guard help with things like food service and cleaning. They offered their plea for continued access to monoclonal antibodies, which are preventing serious illness and death when used early in the COVID course. However, the most upsetting thing I heard was the anger being directed at staff, specifically those on the front lines that are not the ones making the decisions.
As I pen this letter, I am thinking about my friend and employee who is in the hospital having a baby. I think about the experience she has shared in comparison to my experience having babies in non-pandemic times. We must remember that while they are over-burdened by COVID, the hospital staff are still tending to the everyday work they would have in addition to the pandemic. Logan Health reminded us they had a shooting in Kalispell, and they were busy treating gunshot wounds. There are heart attacks and car accidents and that doesn’t stop for a pandemic.
I share this summary and my thoughts that go along with it, not to spur the debates on COVID. Regardless of personal choices that are being made, my hope for all is that in a time of need, whenever and whatever it may be, that we all have the access to the care we know and are proud of in our local communities.
When the pandemic started, folks donated food and coffee to healthcare workers and in general praised them. We need to get back to that. I personally am so proud of our healthcare workers, from doctors and nurses to respiratory therapists, CNAs, housekeeping and nutrition staff and everyone in between. The work they do takes a special person with dedication and a gentle heart. It is a tough job that quickly turned dark, and they have found themselves at the forefront of anger and complaints. These folks are our family, our friends, our neighbors. Please have some compassion and gratitude for them. Help me in saying thank you and doing something kind for our friends in the medical profession. We can’t afford to lose them!
Rep. Sara Novak
Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.
Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.