‘Warm feelings’ from Colville’s Providence

S-E Staff Reporter

It was early September when several clogged arteries sent Barbara Hurst to a hospital in Spokane where she had to have open heart surgery.

Hurst, who had spent 38 years as a health unit coordinator, was familiar with many hospital operations and procedures.

On her last day in Spokane, she inquired about her stitches, which had more or less been forgotten. Her stitches were removed and she was sent on her way.

As Hurst was returning home to Colville, she immediately noticed something was wrong. While stopping to get a meal she began to feel delirious.

At her cousin’s insistence, she called for an ambulance and was transported to Providence Mount Carmel Hospital.

“They told me it was a life saving decision because I wouldn’t have lived for two more hours,” Hurst noted.

Turns out she had contracted blood poisoning.

Despite living in a “podunk town,” Hurst said she received the highest quality of care. Everyone at Providence gave her a “warm feeling.”

Hurst was stuck in the hospital for three months, one week and three days. Her stay was so long because she was on high doses of antibiotics and needed to be monitored.

At one point she returned to the hospital in Spokane to have her wound cleaned by irrigation and debridement, which are cleaning methods that remove dead material and flush a wound to remove organisms and dead cells.

But for the most part, Hurst was bedded in Colville’s Providence Mount Carmel Hospital.

“Mount Carmel made me feel welcomed, they made me feel cared for and they worked as hard as they could to save my life — which I am so thankful for,” said Hurst. “I got the most astronomical care.”

It wasn’t just the doctors who Hurst was cared by. She said every department made her stay bearable from laboratory staff, to the nurses’ and even the janitors.
Everyone made her feel like she was a top priority.

During the long stay, staff would visit her, sometimes even bringing their families. Hurst said it helped to stave off boredom.

For the holidays, hospital staff had Hurst’s room decorated and gave her a Christmas tree. On Christmas she received flowers and fudge, and nurses even swung by her room to sing carols.

Hurst said the staff of Mount Carmel is like a family, which she became a part of during her recovery.

Now that she’s been discharged from the hospital, Hurst is feeling better, but she’s still very appreciative.

“We need to appreciate what we have,” Hurst said in regard to the local hospital. “I see beauty in what we have here and I just want other people to see it.”