Letter: Changes would be burden on families

Published 1:00 am Monday, July 3, 2017

I am feeling so very sad about losing our hospital. I was born here, both our kids were born here, plus I have worked at the hospital for eight years.

We had an experience with my dad a little over a year ago that I see happening even more with this new transition. Dad was brought to the ER in Albert Lea by ambulance and after 10 hours in ER, it was decided to admit him. Albert Lea had no room, so at around midnight, he was sent by ambulance to Austin in extreme pain. He was 87 at the time. He spent four days there and was taken by a medical van to Good Samaritan back in Albert Lea. He developed an infection after a day and a half, so he was sent by ambulance again back to the hospital in Albert Lea. After a day and a half, they discovered an abscess on his spine, so he was then sent by ambulance to Rochester, where he was hospitalized for three weeks. Our mom doesn’t drive, so we had to find ways to get her to Austin and then to Rochester. My siblings, their spouses, my husband and I all work. My sister and I had to try to find people to work for us so we could be with dad, which is hard to do as we are very short-staffed. When here in Albert Lea, my sister, my sister-in-law and I were right here and could stop in on breaks. Older people need someone there for them to make sure they are getting the proper care. Nobody likes being in a strange place all alone! We had to do this for almost a month all together, and it was very hard to do, plus trying to work as much as possible.

Ambulance rides are expensive. How long will Medicare and insurance companies agree to pay for them if they are used so often? I thought I was going to retire working for Mayo, but I work in the dietary department and we were outsourced to another company already — and now this. This last year has been very tough at work and now more changes, and I don’t feel like the patient is coming first anymore. It is hard to get into our regular doctors when you need them, so you end up going to urgent care or ER and see a different doctor each time. I am still hoping that somehow something can still be done. This would be devastating for our town to lose this hospital.

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LeAnn Zerck

Albert Lea