Randi Eldevik

Stillwater

To the editor:

Thanks to the News Press for excellent factual reporting in the Aug. 21 article “Nursing home staffs lag on jabs” and the related editorial “Exposing a vulnerability.”

That state representatives such as Sean Roberts and Jake Merrick would object to the government’s efforts to ensure safety from COVID at nursing homes makes no sense. The elderly are uniquely susceptible to death from COVID. Instead of talking about nursing homes as private enterprise, why don’t Roberts and Merrick acknowledge that nursing homes are meant to promote their patients’ health, not endanger it?

The News Press editorial made some good points, but I wish it had asked one crucial question: What causes the difference between the 81.1% rate of staff vaccinations at one Stillwater nursing home and the much lower rate of 37.5% at another Stillwater nursing home?

Could it be that the low-percentage nursing home is unwilling to pay the wages that would attract intelligent and knowledgeable employees?

First-hand experience leads me to suspect this. From this March through most of July, I spent five months at the low-percentage nursing home. They were the worst five months of my life. Instead of leading to an improvement in my health, they led to my being rushed to the SMC emergency room and, from there, to a Tulsa hospital via helicopter. The realization that I was close to death and needed swift action came about because a friend was visiting me and noticed my serious condition. (It was not COVID.)

If not for my friend’s timely visit, I wonder if any action would have been taken by anyone else to save my life. Some of the staff at this nursing home are goodhearted, but evidently 62.5% of them are ill-informed. Many whom I encountered are apathetic, and at least one was so sadistic that I needed to get help from the state DHS’s ombudsman on Aging Services.

My personal experiences, thus, are consistent with the shamefully low staff vaccination rate of 37.5%. I urge the News Press to extend its investigation and its editorializing on this matter.

I hope it is obvious to anyone reading the News Press that the boastful statement made by this nursing home’s administration is nothing but smarmy, disingenuous doublespeak.

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