Hospital district is needed now

Please vote to establish a hospital district on Vashon Island. We had the chance to do it in 2006 and balked at that time. Since then, we have lost most private practice docs; the care center is in the hands of an off-island entity, and we are about to lose the clinic once and for all.

To those who tout the multiple clinics off island, 30 minutes away as the crow flies: We are not crows. It takes multiple (sometimes agonizing) hours to seek care off-island. To those who say just call 911: Talk to the fire chief about how it looks when a community plans for 911 to cover its basic medical needs and how much that costs, and ask a public health doc about the health of communities that use urgent care rather than primary care.

To those who say unhealthy people should not live on an island: I was a healthy person who was diagnosed with aggressive triple negative breast cancer the last time the clinic closed down. I received chemotherapy, then came home to the island to soak in that poison. I sorely missed having a full-time MD to help me deal with serious side effects and was relieved when the clinic opened back up. Healthy people get sick sometimes, and healthy communities have the infrastructure to both prevent that and to deal with it when sickness or injury arises.

It is strange to learn that some islanders believe the clinic is an irresponsible luxury. It is anything but. It is essential community infrastructure. Will I be at commissioner meetings beating the drum of local and lean? Absolutely. You don’t just create the district and walk away. You support it and work with it. And by the way, “yes” for the parks levy, too.

— Jane Slade

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