Letter: Albert Lea needs hospital and acute care

Published 10:07 pm Thursday, August 17, 2017

Living in Conger, the distance to the Austin hospital is unreasonable in several situations.

All three of our children were born in Albert Lea, with the youngest being born 20 minutes after getting to the hospital. Soon after birth I hemorrhaged, needing emergency surgery.

The ICU is moving first. Dr. Gostout stated that with maternity wards there should be an ICU on site, so why moving ICU in October and Baby Place moving in 2019 or 2020?

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I recently took my 89-year-old father for his checkup at Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea. A PSA blood test was done. The nurse called for the results during the appointment, but the test was sent to Austin, so we had to wait to get results at a later date. If the test had indicated high, we would have had to come back for another appointment. Is this fair to the patients?

Albert Lea Mayo has seen many good doctors/providers/staff leave Mayo due to not being happy with the “system.” Are there unrealistic expectations on staff and time? If there is not enough time with a provider, a serious condition could be missed. This puts pressure on the provider as well as the patient. Does the patient come first?

There have been many departments that have been affected by reorganization: laundry, rehab, home health, janitorial, dietary, Fountain Centers and more.

I recently retired from Fountain Centers. The plans for Fountain Centers just a few years ago were to build a new facility on the west side of Albert Lea. The land was purchased, plans were drawn up and then Fountain Centers had to apply for approval from Mayo. Mayo chooses the five most important projects, which ended up elsewhere. Fountain Centers had been doing well with a successful program and all worked hard to make it successful.

Then, the adolescent unit was put on pause, the detox closed, the women’s unit moved to the newer building. Now, due to staff shortage, there is not a women’s unit. Staff has been leaving this area and not being replaced due to a hiring freeze and inability to get applicants. I believe in Fountain Centers and hope it can survive this.

Because of the way things are directed, including communications, the financial picture can change drastically. There are many decisions made within Mayo that are not discussed with the ones most involved, as evidenced by current events. The hospital change is just one of them.

Rochester Mayo is great to have so close for the specialty care and expertise, while Albert Lea needs to have the care for our area in Albert Lea.

This is about people, not just numbers and dollars. Surrounding areas that go into Iowa and over to Frost need the services located in Albert Lea. Albert Lea is an important community that cares about people and quality care. We need to keep the hospital and acute care going in Albert Lea.

Carla Lindeman