LETTER:Critical shortage

Thanks for the article “Worker shortages at local hospitals.”

The situation really is that critical.

The first time I assisted in surgery during medical school, the surgeon who had placed a new pacemaker asked if I knew how to close.

Having done it on a dog, I said, “Yes.”

“Good,” he said, and walked out.

The scrub nurse saw the expression on my face and said, “I’ll tell you what to do.”

I quickly learned to appreciate the experienced nurses, technicians, therapists, receptionists and others who help provide essential care.

Never did I imagine what they are going through now.

Staffed beds and emergency rooms are full once again.

Nursing homes and other hospitals often can’t take transfers.

One in five hospitalized patients may have COVID-19.

Required isolation and protective gear is burdensome and time consuming.

There’s the constant concern about getting and spreading the virus.

Staff have to cover for others who are sick and/or in quarantine.

The pandemic has pushed our public health and healthcare systems to the brink.

New COVID-19 cases on the Peninsula may be plateauing, but hospitalizations and deaths usually peak a few weeks later.

Let’s do our part to stop the pandemic and also thank our dedicated public health and healthcare workers.

These views are mine and may not necessarily represent those of others who serve on the Jefferson County Board of Health and the Public Hospital District 2 Board with me, but I think they do.

Kees Kolff, MD

Port Townsend