Hospitals should not consult public on medical decisions

The Pullman Regional Hospital (PRH) asking the public for their input on gender reassignment surgery is a political and outrageous step to electrify the public on an issue they have no expertise in.

Hospital staff would not consult the public regarding other medical practices, and The Daily Evergreen believes this is a move to spark debate in an already tense political climate.

We agree with WSU assistant professor Elizabeth Siler in saying that the decision to offer gender realignment surgery is a private matter that the hospital’s Board of Commissioners should have discussed and decided upon internally.

The public is not qualified to make decisions on a “very complex procedure,” as PRH Chief Clinical Officer Jeannie Eylar referred to the surgery. These decisions should be left to trained medical professionals and based on the availability of resources and the needs of the patient.

When asking the public to weigh in on a topic of which many have purely political opinions, it causes the community to question the hospital’s ability to make an objective decision based on medical research rather than public discourse.

Pullman is mostly reliant on the business of WSU students, faculty and staff, and PRH serves everyone in Pullman as a public hospital, including the local transgender community and LGBTQ students.

WSU is making steps to include gender-neutral locker rooms in the Student Recreation Center and the Chinook Student Center, so Pullman should take similar steps to accommodate a growing, diverse community.

WSU Health & Wellness does not offer urgent care outside of business hours. Students must turn to PRH to provide the care they need when something unexpected happens.

That being said, PRH is simply adhering to the perceived generalization that Pullman is still just a small, rural town of 33,000 people. But for nine months of the year, Pullman is home to 20,000 students from all over the state, country and world with many different worldviews and medical needs.

If consulting the public, everyone should have the opportunity to voice their opinions.

Although we do not believe that the public should have a say in this matter, many affected students are not currently in town to voice their opinions on the issue. The timing is questionable, and more beneficial to long-time residents of Pullman who do not regularly leave for extended periods. By excluding students from the discussion, the hospital is ignoring a large portion of the population.

Eylar said that if PRH were to offer this service, it would be the first public hospital in the state to do so. The Daily Evergreen believes that our local community should be striving to be leaders of innovation, in academics, research and medicine.