Letter to the Editor

Tremendous opportunity

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Spencer Hospital has an emergency department renovation coming. With this renovation, we have an opportunity to connect our hospital and emergency department to Spencerís Medical Arts Building. The advantages to the care we can provide to our community will be beneficial in the immediate future as well as presenting long-term opportunities to continue to improve services and access.

I have been a family practice physician practicing in the Medical Arts Building for 22 years and have worked in our emergency department for those same 22 years. The prospect of our clinic physically connected to our hospital is an exciting opportunity for us to advance the ease, comfort, safety, and timeliness of accessing services the hospital offers that can be needed for urgent and sometimes, emergent situations. The ability to move a patient with an urgent need will occur by a wheelchair or bed pushed down the hallway instead of by ambulance or wheelchair ride across 11th Street. This may seem like a small trip, but the safety of our patients and staff will be optimized. Moving an ill person through often harsh northwest Iowa weather challenges will be eliminated.

Our clinic sees approximately 60,000 visits per year encompassing Family Practice, Behavioral Health, and Gynecology. Spencer Hospital Emergency Department cares for approximately 9,500 members of our community and surrounding communities per year. These visits will undoubtedly continue to grow. You can see the magnitude of the benefits to the care we can provide with improved access to our facility. Fortunately, most visits to your family physician do not require emergent hospital services. However, when we do require a service not available in the clinic, efficiency and safety can be critical.

A head CT for new neurologic symptoms, cardiac monitoring and care for a suspected heart problem, an ultrasound to look for a blood clot, an abdominal scan to look for appendicitis, quick access to the Obstetrics unit for pregnancy concerns. ... these are not always expected outcomes of clinic visits, but these are a few examples of instances your physician may need access to testing capabilities we don't have in the Medical Arts facility. A trip down the hallway will be a momentous improvement over an ambulance ride, car ride or wheelchair ride across an often busy and/or inclement weather-impacted street.

We are fortunate to have a community hospital in Spencer with the services we do. The residents of Spencer should be proud of our medical facilities. Our medical/surgical floor, operating room, labor and delivery unit, cancer center, and intensive care unit, are unequalled for a community our size. We will be able to expand our services and access to those services with the upcoming emergency department renovation.

ó Bruce Feldmann, MD, Spencer Family Care Family Practice Physician, Director Spencer Hospital Emergency Department