The news this week was bleak. Washington state received a D+ for the level of state support for emergency patients, ranking 35th in the nation according to the American College of Emergency Physicians [“Emergency doctors’ report faults Washington state,” Local News, Jan. 16]. Yet many policymakers remain unaware of the reality we live: a daily disaster.
Hospitals throughout the state are above bed capacity, with nowhere to see patients except hallway and chairs. What was once isolated to urban hospitals has crept out into community hospitals. There are days where patients will be seen, treated and discharged from a plastic chair. This helped earn the state an F in access to care.
What is more frightening is that we have no capacity for a true disaster. What happens if we have a major earthquake? The state got another F in disaster preparedness. When we have no capacity to start, it paints a bleak picture for our ability to handle a disaster.
This report card should be a wake-up call to every elected official. The status quo may be the easy route for Olympia, but it hurts our neighbors. Let’s get to work and stop failing as a state. We can do better. We must for all of our heath.
Former state Sen. Nathan Schlicher, Gig Harbor