This week I have been immersed in both the history and present state of the health care safety net in my home town of Seattle, especially as it is ’embodied’ (or ’em-building-bodied’) by Harborview Hospital/Medical Center.
Harborview is the largest hospital provider of charity care in Washington State. It serves as the only Level 1 adult and pediatric trauma and burn center, not only for Washington State, but also for Alaska, Montana, and Idaho, a landmass close to 250,000 square kilometers with a total population of ten million people. In addition, Harborview provides free, professional medical interpreter services in over 80 languages, and has the innovative Community House Calls Program, a nurse-run program providing cultural mediation and advocacy for the area’s growing refugee and immigrant populations.
Here is my photo–simple ode–to Harborview and its adjacent Harbor View Park:
Behold, the shining beacon on the hill,
Rising from marshland’s King County Poor Farm,
Stalwart Sisters of Providence did till,
Shielding paupers, ill and homeless from harm;
Then, to separate church from state, we care,
‘Above the brightness of the sun: Service,’
Proclaimed the poster on opening day;
Now, our common humanity declare
Responsibility to resurface,
Embrace compassion for all, we say.