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Article posted: 2/2/2013 5:00 AM

Before expanding, hospital should improve

When your kids ask you for a dog, it's a good idea to see how their goldfish is doing. If the goldfish is floating upside down in its bowl, it's a sign that the kids aren't ready to take care of a dog yet.

Vista Health System has asked the state of Illinois for permission to build a new hospital in Lindenhurst. Hopefully, this request will prompt the state to take a look at conditions in the hospitals that Vista currently operates in Waukegan.

Unfortunately, the quality of care at Vista's hospitals in Waukegan leaves a lot of room for improvement.

As a volunteer citizenship teacher at the Father Gary Graf Center in Waukegan, I have heard many stories from my students about long waiting times and inadequate staffing levels at Vista's hospitals. In an emergency room visit last month, my wife had to wait for nearly two hours after being seen by a doctor just to have an IV removed so that she could leave. Her visit was over, but there was no nurse available to remove her IV.

Besides being the largest health care provider in Waukegan, Vista is also one of our community's largest private employers. We want them to be successful so that they can continue to deliver jobs and health care to our community. However, Vista needs to do a better job taking care of the people of Waukegan.

I hope that Vista will work with our community to improve the quality of care. When they do so, I will gladly support Vista's efforts to expand into other communities.

David E. Palmer

Waukegan

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