Medical Care Deserves Credit Around Here
Thirty years ago, Ed’s parents considered buying a retirement home in Ocean City, but did not follow through because they feared that the area lacked adequate health care. Ironically, soon after his father died at home, unable to get to a nearby hospital. Five years ago, we retired to Ocean City. Two years later, we brought Ed’s mother to Gull Creek Senior Living Community. By that time, we were already impressed by the quality of the area’s health care. Although mom died last week, the quality of care she received was, for the most part, first rate.
Let us begin with Gull Creek Senior Living Community. The facility is well maintained and very accommodating to its residents’ needs. Mother began her stay there in a one-bedroom apartment with freedom to come and go as she saw fit. The staff at Gull Creek, headed by Margaret White, showed constant loving concern and friendship to her. This spring mom had to move into assisted living with a more careful watch over her health and her inability to take care of herself. Once again, Gull Creek from its nurses and aides to its cleaning ladies and administrative staff continued to do everything possible to make her comfortable in her own apartment.
Several times during the past couple of months mother was taken to the emergency room at Atlantic General Hospital and twice admitted into the hospital. Although we had been pleased whenever we went to AGH for tests or emergency room treatment, we had not experienced the hospital’s main staff or facilities. We were favorably impressed by the hospital’s staff, which showed mother the best care possible. Its staff physicians sat with us and discussed mother’s condition at length and the nurses always went the extra mile to give her the best care. The same was true of all the staff from admissions to the emergency room to the aides and technicians. It is wonderful that AGH provides all its patients a private room, which became increasingly important as mother’s condition deteriorated.
We were also impressed by the physical and occupational therapy staff at both Peninsula Home Care, which sent professional therapists to her apartment, and at Berlin Nursing & Rehabilitation Center. When mother returned to AGH, clearly in her final days, the hospital staff once again rose to the occasion offering her and her family palliative care and eventually helped provide care for her from Coastal Hospice in her apartment in Gull Creek.
The only weak link that we observed in this area’s health care system is an apparent lack of communication between a patient’s primary care physician and physicians in the hospital and rehabilitation center. Perhaps, it is our current health care system that puts too much emphasis on tests and the science of medicine while sometimes ignoring the art of medicine. The physicians we met seemed highly competent and able to interpret test results. None found anything wrong with mother. So they kept adding more tests.
Once they took a chest X-ray two days in a row looking for non-existing pneumonia. Finally, one of the hospital’s staff physicians, who a couple of weeks before had sent mother to the Berlin Nursing and Rehabilitation for therapy, sat with us and admitted that the medical profession sometimes relies a bit too much on test results instead of trying to understand a patient’s overall condition. Since there was no primary cause for mother’s death, he agreed that the old-fashioned term of “dying of old age” was probably the best way to describe her condition. His observation was affirmed by her death certificate, which attributed her death to “debility and decline.” A closer partnership with mother’s primary care physician and the physicians at the hospital and rehabilitation center might have saved the costs of excess testing, allowed mother less discomfort, encouraged her family not to push her unlikely recovery so hard, and for all to show more compassion in the final weeks of her life.
Yet, the most important part of the health care offered to mother was loving concern from the area’s health care providers. Our family has been most impressed with the quantity and quality of medical care in this area. Moving here was the right choice for us. Residents and visitors can rest assured that all will receive first-class medical care here.
Edward K Eckert
Linda C. Eckert
The Worcester County Health Department and Animal Control held a special Rabies Vaccination clinic at the Animal Shelter in Snow Hill on Aug. 5 from 6-7:30 p.m. Over 375 animals were vaccinated — almost twice the size of our usual clinics making it the most well attended rabies clinic we have ever held. Unfortunately, it was an extremely hot and muggy evening and due to the large number of attendees, many people had a long wait.
I would like to personally express my appreciation to all the citizens who took the time to have their pets vaccinated. Worcester County has seen a dramatic increase in the number of rabies cases in wildlife this year. Regular vaccination is a very important measure owners can take to prevent their pet from contracting rabies.
I would also like to thank Dr. William Schultz, veterinarian, the Worcester County Sheriff’s office and Animal Control staff, and the Worcester County Health Department staff for all their efforts.
For more information about rabies, you can visit Worcester County Health Department’s website on www.worcesterhealth.org or contact our Environmental Health Department at 410-352-3234.
Debbie Goeller, R.N., M.S.
(The writer is the health officer for Worcester County.)
A Great Day For Town
Thank you to every person who made the 11th Annual Blessing of the Combines, held in Snow Hill on the first Saturday in August, such a wonderful day.
A year’s worth of planning by committee leaders brought combines (including an antique one drawn by a team), tractors, lawnmowers, pedal tractors, children’s crafts and games, live music, bake sales, Eastern Shore foods, a petting barnyard, an antique fire truck, craft vendors, artists, politicians and more together to honor the farming community and to bless the combines. The Custom Car, Truck and Motorcycle Show drew more than 100 entries, with music, drawings and trophies. The Garden and Tractor Pull followed the downtown events. Town of Snow Hill police and public works personnel were everywhere before, during and after the event. Volunteers were out in force, as were the hundreds of visitors who attended.
It was a great day for Snow Hill, and we thank you for being part of it.
(The writer was the event chair.)
The Maryland Coastal Bays Program would like to thank Seacrets owner Leighton Moore for donating all cover charges collected between the hours of 5 and 9 pm on Thursday, July 30. We would also like to thank his staff members who helped us that night.
Thanks to Mr. Moore’s generosity, we were able to raise $4,000. This donation will go toward continuing our mission to preserve and protect the bays behind Ocean City and Assateague through research, education and outreach programs.
David E. Wilson Jr.
(The writer is the executive director of the Maryland Coastal Bays Program.)
Scare Tactics At Work
It appears that Swift Boat-type politicking has returned, again under the guise of “grassroots” discontent. The rage and disruption of town hall meetings on health care have been choreographed by public relations and lobbying firms that have a stake in opposing President Obama’s reforms, and are meant to perpetuate flat-out lies (e.g. euthanizing the elderly) whose only purpose is to scare the public.
For all those ill-informed people who rail against government-run health care, your only recourse is to demand an end to Medicare; for those 65 and older who want our government out of the health care business, burn your Medicare cards (preferably in front of TV cameras) and opt out of the system immediately. Anything less is disingenuous and sheer hypocrisy.
One last admonition to you naysayers: don’t believe everything you think.
AGH Care Applauded
During a recent visit to Ocean City, I became seriously ill and was taken to Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin. The care I received during my stay was outstanding.
Although my condition and diagnosis required multiply tests, they were completed promptly. Several sophisticated tests normally done only during the week were quickly arranged during the weekend, requiring Technicians to be called in. I was treated with utmost efficiency and pleasantness by the staff and Doctors. I want to thank all of those involved in my care. Their kindness and compassion turned a difficult week into a more bearable one.
I am aware that Atlantic General is often overlooked in favor of much larger Peninsula Regional in Salisbury, but my experience gives me confidence that quality and compassionate care is available minutes from OC.