Letter to the Editor: A local high bar for national healthcare

My wife and I are part time residents of the valley and in the back of our minds have always been concerned about health care in an isolated area.  After our recent experience at Rio Grande Hospital, we realized there was no need for this concern. From our experience, we came away with a totally different perception of health care in the valley.

RGH is a diamond in the rough and we believe that all hospitals could learn from what we experienced at RGH.  The patient’s comfort and care is the center of everyone’s concern - the nurses, the doctors, the administrator, even the maintenance department.

Even though RGH may not be able to perform all services locally, they have a network to tap into for more involved procedures.  To demonstrate this point, after 24 hours of compassionate nursing and medical care, it was determined my wife needed to be transferred to a trauma hospital in Colorado Springs for emergency surgery.  That decision was made at 10 a.m. at RGH hospital. Immediately, Dr. Ward coordinated with local ambulance service, Air Med for flight to Colorado Springs, contacted a prominent surgeon who was waiting on us at our hospital room, Within six hours of leaving RGH for the Del Norte airport, my wife was in recovery in Colorado Springs after a successful surgery.

We would like to thank the Dr. Harbart and the ER staff,  attending physician, Dr. Ward, the incredibly compassionate nurses, Amanda and CEO Arlene Harms,  and the maintenance department for the incredible patient care we received, the coordination of outside resources and the compassion we felt from everyone we interacted with at RGH. 

We love our time in the valley and our love is even greater knowing we have incredible healthcare close by.   Other hospitals, big or small, urban or rural should try to match the high bar that RGH has set for all.  If everyone had the same patient compassion and care that RGH provided for us, healthcare nationwide would not be the issue that it has become.  It would be a asset that the valley enjoys in RGH.  Happy 2019 to all.


Rick Smith

South Fork