Quality health care is one of those things that everyone wants and needs. Indeed, we demand it.
But quality health care does not necessarily mean having the latest and best diagnostic tools; it has more to do with that second word – care. That’s the human part of medicine, the professionalism, dedication and compassion of the people who make the beds, prepare the food, dispense the medicine and exchange friendly banter with the people in hospital beds, the examining rooms and labs.
In short, it takes people, not instruments, to provide quality care.
It is the appreciation of that compassion and empathy that prompted western Prince County residents to line up Thursday night during the official launch of the history book on Western Hospital to purchase copies of Through the Years: A History of Western Hospital. Many purchased additional books as gifts for family members.
Sure, the book tells of an old hotel being quickly converted into a hospital so that residents here could receive swift access to quality care, but the book is not about old walls; it is about what goes on inside those walls and of the changes that have occurred in health care delivery.
As the book’s researchers (10 retired staff members who, together, counted more than 300 years of service) acknowledged, health care is in a state of constant change.
New medicines, new tools and new procedures are always being developed, and new ideas and philosophies emerge.
But, as sure as there is sunshine, health care is only as good as the level of care that the hospital staff and volunteers provide.
The large turn-out for the book launch, a mix of past and present staff and of people who have received care at Western Hosptial, is testimony to the level of care provided.
Sure, Western, like other rural hospitals, has had its challenges with staffing numbers and with changes in service delivery over the years, and residents have had to fight to retain services.
As long as that personal touch remains strong, West Prince residents will surely continue to demonstrate strong support for their hospital.
There have been times, though, when governments have lacked appreciation for that important connection. If politicians would read the book, maybe then they would understand.