Vote Yes on a New Hospital for Southern Humboldt, Urges Letter Writer
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To Southern Humboldt Community,
As you all well know we have a vast number of health disparities in our small community. A health disparity is linked to social, economic, and/or environmental disadvantages and adversely affect groups of people, such as, those living in poverty or low-income. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Humboldt County individuals living below poverty level is at an estimated 21.4%, compared to California’s percentage of 16.3%. Many of these disparities are multifaceted and require strategies that involve things that are out of our hands.
One environmental health disparity that we have control over is helping our community to build a new hospital by voting Yes on Measure W.
California Hospital Safety Seismic Law, SB 1953, requires specific retrofitting and/or rebuilding of California hospitals by 2030. This is because “hospitals must remain standing and functional during and after an earthquake for the safety of patients and staff AND to provide medical assistance to earthquake victims” (OSHPD CA). Jerold Phelps Community Hospital (JPCH) cannot be retrofitted to meet these standards and for this community to have a local hospital a new facility must be built.
Often, we only think of ourselves and how things effect OUR life. Let’s take a moment and think about our neighbor instead.
Reliable transportation is required in a rural environment; without this our neighbor cannot drive to the next closest hospital over an hour away in Fortuna. Often getting into town is difficult enough and requires walking, hitchhiking, or the mercy of a friend. Once in town the Redwood Transit System is available; however, it only operates Monday thru Friday, at specific time intervals. Imagine being in pain or having difficulty breathing or routinely trying to hitchhike or ride a bus to Fortuna to receive necessary medical care. According to California Center for Rural Policy, Research Brief 4 (2009), “transportation is one of the many factors impacting health and access to healthcare in our rural communities.” Why would we want to make this more difficult for our neighbors and ourselves?
When looking for employment many medical professionals typically only consider facilities with the latest technology and look, which JPCH lacks due to limitations related to the age and design of the current facility. Recruitment and retention is difficult. I believe as a community we deserve a facility with the latest technology to diagnose and treat our health issues.
As a medical professional I want ease of healthcare access so that my patients can have the best chances for recovery. Wouldn’t we be damaging our community by limiting available services, essentially stating that we are not worthy of optimal local medical care?
A Yes vote on Measure W supports a stronger and healthier community; it shows we value where we live and we care about those who matter to us. Help point us toward a better future for Southern Humboldt.
“Heroes didn’t leap tall buildings or stop bullets with an outstretched hand; they didn’t wear boots and capes. They bled, and they bruised, and their superpowers were as simple as listening or loving. Heroes were ordinary people who knew that even if their own lives were impossibly knotted, they could untangle someone else’s. And maybe that one act could lead someone to rescue you right back.” ― Jodi Picoult, Second Glance
Southern Humboldt Family Nurse Practitioner Student