One reason I am voting yes on Question 1 is my memory of hours spent with my mother, my wife, my children, and other loved ones in hospitals hearing the incessant din of alarms, and even occasional cries and groans of distress.

I’m not talking about war zone triage nor even about the ER, I’m talking about inpatient care in major Boston hospitals (MGH, B&W, etc.). Nurses can’t answer the alarms right away when they’re busy with other patients. Delay addressing medical needs is not good healthcare. The din itself is stressful, antithetical to healing

“First, do no harm” rules doctors and nurses. Not so administrators. The economic forces they bend to are not rules of nature, they result from human inventions that define what a market currently is. Question 1 subordinates the latter to the former. Sure, everybody wants to reduce health care costs. Reducing essential staff is not the way to do it. You get what you pay for.

One recent mailing quotes Donna Glynn, President of the ANA: “Under Question 1’s strict nursing quotas, hospitals will have to close the beds we need to fight our opioid crisis.” Nurses don’t close hospital beds, hospital administrators do. Translated, this is a threat: “If you make us provide more nurses, we’ll stop providing beds for opiate victims.” (And “quota” is a familiar dog whistle. It’s only a change to the staffing guidelines or ‘quotas’ that are in place now.) Other glossy fliers claim that only a demonized “nurse’s union” wants Question 1.

Ask a nurse if having more nurses on the floor would be a bad thing.

Bruce Nevin