Letter: Mayo’s largest casualty: It’s loss of credibility

Published 10:00 pm Monday, October 16, 2017

I feel the unfolding tragedy of the Las Vegas shootings is viewed through the lens of each person’s individual experience. My first thought, of course, was for the 58 dead and the life-altering tragedy for their loved ones. My second concern was for the more than 500 injured. Fortunately, those injured were able to be rushed to a nearby hospital for emergency medical assistance. Whether 500 cases or a single case, such trips to the hospital are situations where each second counts and time often makes the difference between life and death.

What if those taken to a hospital were told that it would take an extra 20 minutes before they could get to critical, life-saving assistance? It would be little comfort for them to be told that 95 percent of medical services were routine, non-hospital services. It would be little comfort to know that the decision to take them 20 minutes farther from a hospital was made by some remote star-chamber board that had little understanding or concern with local conditions. Nor would it be of comfort to them to be told their case was analogous to going to get an ice cream cone in a nearby town.

Recently, I received an undated form letter from Annie Sadosty of Mayo Clinic Health System, telling me there is much confusion and misinformation about the closing of the Albert Lea hospital and that Mayo Clinic is not closing the hospital in Albert Lea. Even in a time where facts or truth means little, this is heard to swallow. Tell this to the folks who will need to ride an extra 20 minutes by ambulance to get to the Austin facility. Tell this to friends and family who need to visit loved ones in the hospital. It occurs to me that the Save Our Hospital group is not the one who is fostering confusion and dealing in misinformation. It seems to me that Mayo’s credibility has been strained to the breaking point and that we can no longer believe what they say — that they parse out only what they want the public to hear — in other words the Mayo line, generously laced with vague generalities and lofty platitudes.

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It appears that this plan by Mayo is proceeding, regardless of concrete evidence of its necessity and regardless of feeling of those all the way from the state Capitol to the local community. It is perhaps Mayo’s hope that we will all, through grudgingly, eventually accept the situation. What they may not realize is that through this course of action they have clearly demonstrated their high-handedness, their intransigence, their lack of concern for the patients or the welfare of the local community. And for Mayo’s part, the largest casualty may be the loss of credibility and the reputation they sacrificed.

William Schmitt

Albert Lea