I’ve been going to West Suburban Hospital (WSH) for at least 38 years and have never had a serious complaint. Until May 18, 2020.

I was required to be tested there for COVID-19 on May 18, told to go straight home and quarantine until returning on May 20 for my surgery.

When I arrived on May 18, I was surprised to see the security guard standing across from the sign-in desk not wearing a face mask. While walking to the room for my COVID-19 test, a nurse walked past me in the hall wearing nurses clothes but not wearing a mask.

On May 20 while waiting in my room to go to pre-op, a transporter came to my room in scrubs; however, he was not wearing a mask. When we got to pre-op, he got Clorox wipes, cleaned a hospital bed and table and left the room. I asked the pre-op nurse if the bed and table were really clean considering the transporter had been breathing on the bed and table as he cleaned them. She stated no, and re-cleaned them while wearing her mask and scrubs. Then another employee in scrubs, not wearing a mask, came in to the pre-op room. I asked him to put on a mask. He didn’t. He left the room and went a few feet down the hall and came in through another door. I again asked him to put on a mask. He got something from a vending machine and went back to the desk outside of the pre-op room. I was in a bed where I could see through the windows. Both employees stood at the desk talking, not wearing masks. A few minutes later three people walked in the pre-op room. One was wearing a face shield, one a face mask, and the third, a doctor was holding his face mask in his hand.

I told the pre-op nurse, who was wearing a mask, I would like to talk to the person in charge of the floor. I reported all of the above to the person in charge of the floor after my surgery. She stated she would take care of it.

It is extremely difficult to comprehend how this could be happening in one of our local hospitals in light of our governor’s daily press conferences, warnings, and current law asking everyone to cover our faces when around others, especially in a hospital, where one is near our most vulnerable.

On Friday, May 22, I decided this situation was serious enough to be reported to the IDPH. I was told by them to contact CCPH. I was bounced back and forth between them until I was referred to the Oak Park Public Health Department. I was able to reach someone on the main phone number who then sent an email to another employee who contacted me. He listened to my story and referred me to the Infectious Disease Department at WSH.

Finally? Not. I called WSH and was transferred to two different people at Weiss Hospital. I was then transferred to Risk Management at WSH. After leaving my third message on her voice mail, I had her paged. Instead of calling me herself the day before or the next day, she relayed a message through the hospital operator that someone from administration would be contacting me.

My first phone call to WSH was Tuesday, May 26 at 12:55 p.m. It is now Friday, May 29, 11:30 a.m. and I have not gotten a return phone call from an administrator at WSH.

My suggestion: if you are at WSH and you are there, observe any employee not wearing a mask, demand to talk to an administrator immediately.

Maybe after reading this letter, an administrator at WSH will consider my complaint regarding the seriousness of staff members not wearing masks a reason to return my phone call.

Marianne Trifone

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