Note from the publisher  – A.P. Walther

We are gratified when our readers take the time to comment on the stories we work hard to bring you. Our last issue’s cover story, “Tales from the ER” generated a high level of feedback, and we appreciated every letter. We were, however, concerned by some comments in which readers took issue with the focus of our story. Let me be clear; we believe the staff at Salem Hospital go above and beyond to provide health services under very trying conditions. Our intention in writing this article was not to denigrate Salem Hospital’s overworked staff, but to start a conversation about how ER services might be improved. The negative experiences we described were, in our opinion, created by the combination of an overworked staff scheduled too thin by administrators focused on an inappropriate “bottom line” even though the institution is called nonprofit, and a health care system that forces millions of people to use the ER for their care because they cannot afford or access anything else. When life is on the line, front line staff should never be overworked or under-resourced. Over the years, we’ve heard many complaints about Salem Hospital’s ER, so many that we knew a story would one day be printed on our pages. After Kelly Williams Brown’s experience earlier this year, we knew the time had come. In putting the story together, we were...

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