Shortage of hospital ICU beds in Southern Illinois is unnerving

Why has this small number of critical care hospital beds in the 20 counties of Southern Illinois gone unaddressed for so long?

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ICU beds

Only about 37% of residents across those 20 counties in the state’s southern tip have gotten a shot, barely half the statewide rate.

AP Photo/Kyle Green

The Sun-Times reported last week that there are few to no hospital ICU beds available in the 20-county area of Southern Illinois. People requiring critical care, experts said, could be “looking at a 5-hour ambulance ride” to find an open ICU bed.

But perhaps the Sun-Times report’s most unnerving fact was the revelation that an area with more than 400,000 residents has a mere 88 beds devoted to critical-care patients. Simple math indicates that — among the area’s 22 hospitals — there is an alarming average of just four critical-care beds per hospital. Why has this small number of ICU beds never been addressed? Is a lower pay scale offered in this part of Illinois? Do hospital workers simply prefer urban areas?

Whatever the reasons, it is unnerving to wonder what would happen if an even more dire emergency were to occur.

Christine Craven, Evergreen Park

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A COVID perspective

Something I saw on Facebook that really says it all:

Imagine being a firefighter while the rest of society starts thousands of fires every day. You ask them to practice fire safety, but they refuse. They tell you that all the fires you’ve been exhaustingly fighting every day are just a hoax, and that they have the freedom to start fires if they want to.

That’s what it’s like to be a healthcare worker these days.

Bob Chimis, Elmwood Park

Taliban actions shouldn’t surprise

For all those who are complaining — or, worse, are actually surprised — that the Taliban has not included women in its government and closed the Women’s Affairs Ministry, I have questions:

Are you surprised by snow in February? Shocked by rats in alleys? Amazed by Chicago Bears quarterback controversies? Wondering whether gravity is still just a theory?

Joking and sarcasm aside, anyone disappointed in the Taliban’s actions is as naive as an adult waiting for Santa Claus.

Make no mistake: these are deadly, tyrannical terrorists. To think otherwise gives them more power. Shame on our naïveté.

William Choslovsky, Lincoln Park

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