Recently when I was hospitalized over that stray cat bite, one thing became glaringly apparent to me. Our county/community is woefully unprepared when it comes to healthcare via hospitalization options for our citizens.
When we first moved to Douglasville over 25 years ago we had two hospitals. There was Parkway Hospital which was located in Lithia Springs on the east side of the county virtually at the Cobb County line and the Douglas General which is located almost in downtown Douglasville. In the last 15 years or so Parkway closed and Douglas General has now become Wellstar Douglas.
Please don’t misunderstand. I am NOT complaining about any treatment or services I received during my stay. I think for what they have available to them the staff does a wonderful job but I just think it’s ridiculous that a county the size of ours (population was around 92,000 in 2000 and in the 2010 census it was revealed that our county now has over 132,000. That’s an increase of close to 50% and we went from 2 hospitals to 1. Does that make any sense? I understand that we are very close to the megalopolis that is Atlanta but when you need emergency services it would be nice to not have to drive into Atlanta and it’s traffic to get it.
Douglas General used to have a horrible reputation. In fact, even people who used to work there, were heard to say that unless you were dying, you were better off going to another hospital…any hospital other than Douglas General. I know from firsthand experience how frustrating it used to be to have to go to their ER. In fact, the last time we had to make an ER trip with our youngest we went to the next county (away from Atlanta) because we had called a friend of ours that actually worked at Douglas General and she recommended that unless we wanted to wait a LONG LONG time we’d be better off going elsewhere.
And the last time we DID go to their ER was when #2 cut her hand pretty badly on a glass bottle and we were there for over 6 hours before we even saw anyone and by then the cut had coagulated the nurse said she still thought it needed stitches (but she never even cleaned it up) and she sent the doctor in only for him to say he was going to send the nurse back in to clean it up and put stitches in. After waiting another 1 or so I finally flagged the nurse down in the hallway and told her we were leaving. I explained that she had not been treated, not even cleaned up and that we had been there literally all day (it was getting dark outside) and nothing had been done.
She insisted on cleaning it and I told her don’t bother, we’d clean it at home and probably get it done sooner and that I was not going to pay an outrageous deductible or copay for her never even getting what we came in for. She came in a halfway cleaned it and put a bandaid on it and as we left I told the girl at the desk that I was not paying since she didn’t get the stitches and no treatment other than Neosporin and a bandaid AFTER I told the nurse we were leaving. She assured me we would not be charged. Lo and behold we ended up getting an explanation of benefits from the insurance company where the hospital had billed them for stitches! It took us over a year of fighting with them and them threatening to sue us to finally get it taken care of.
But, on the other hand, a few years ago when hubby had to have his knee replacement surgery they did a wonderful job and his hospital stay was wonderful (well, as wonderful as a hospital stay can be!) and the staff and nurses and doctors were wonderful. My stay this time was great other than the staff being overworked because the hospital was full. In fact, the admissions clerk told us they only had about 100 inpatient beds and that is WITH a fairly recent renovation and expansion. When my doctors office called over they told me to take my time because they didn’t have a room open but were expecting one to open “soon” so I got to go home and get my clothes first.
When we got there they told me they were finishing up cleaning the room and by the time we got through with the paper work my room should be ready. Then right as she was finishing up she got a call saying that the person cleaning my room at fallen cleaning the room and was unconscious in the ER! I was sure hoping that wasn’t an omen! We had to wait about an hour for the room to be finished. Seriously, I am not complaining. I’m just saying. Heaven forbid there be any serious ill outbreak or major accident or anything where they’d need to bring a lot of people because they just don’t have the room.
I think what bothers me is the fact that all the other county and city services are so up to date and state of the art yet we still have one small rinky dink hospital. It just doesn’t seem right.
In the last 15 years or so we have had a brand new state of the art Courthouse built which was paid for in about 3 years time due to SPLOST money. We have had a new Sheriff’s Department building and new jail built and opened which about doubled the number of jail beds. We have a brand new 911 Emergency Services Call Center opened. We have a brand new state of the art Police Department. We have a new transportation facility to house the buses and ride share vans for the commuters who work in Atlanta and live in our county. We have newly renovated parks and recreation facilities. We have a new convention center being built and a newly renovated City Hall. We have a new high school and fairly new middle and elementary schools. We have a fairly new Water Department building. We are in the process of building another state of the art jail with about 1500 beds. Yes, 1,500 beds…. 15 times the number of hospital beds in the whole county!
I know that the county and or city are not running the hospital or do not own it but come ON now! Someone should be able to figure a way to get another hospital in our county or at least enlarge the one we have. If we want to attract newer and better citizens in our county we need to look at all the facilities people need and use. Any suggestions?