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April 25, 2013

The importance of speaking up ...

Over the years we have come to understand that, in writing a weekly column, it is not possible to always please everyone. And such was the case with our column that ran at the end of March in which we wrote about our experience as in inpatient following a total hip replacement.

In fact, the week following the column there was a letter to the editor that seemed to decry what we had done. The letter read: “I am writing in response to a recent column attacking Bassett Hospital. What a shame someone felt the need to do so. My mom recently had to stay in the hospital and we couldn’t have been treated better. The nurses were patient, kind and attentive to her and respected every member of our family. The doctors spent time answering all our questions and treating our entire family with courtesy. The hard-working people at Bassett, and other health care facilities, deserve our respect and support and they will ALWAYS have mine.”

And we definitely think it was good that the writer choose to share what was a very positive experience.

Nonetheless, we were somewhat taken aback by this letter as, not only do we respect and support the staff at Bassett, we have long been known for our support of the institution itself. We feel, in spite of what others say, it is the major economic force in our community without which the community would be in very bad shape and not just in terms of medical care. However, this support of Bassett does not mean that we will not speak up when we think there are areas in which there is room for improvement. Our hope is always that by bringing those needs for improvement to the attention of someone who is in a position to do something about them, improvement will at least be considered. It is, we think, input from patients and their families that provides the hospital the feedback necessary to assess when they are serving their patients well and when they are not.

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