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Fit And Well Idaho: Patient And Family Advisory Council

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By Brittany Cooper

Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) As patients, how often do we have a say in our healthcare?

Well, a local hospital is looking for patients and families to share experiences and weigh-in on projects.

Brittany Cooper explains more in this week's Fit and Well Idaho.

Starla Paulson is lucky to be alive... after having a rare allergic reaction to a sulfur antibiotic she was taking for an ear ache.

"And ended up with what they call Steven Johnson Syndrome, which is a really severe allergic reaction, which developed into Acute Respiratory Stress Syndrome... spent four and half months in ICU in a hospital in Denver. In the process, I lost my right lung. I was the first kid in the world to use an oscillated respirator from MIT," she explains.

After many surgeries over the years, Paulson moved to Twin Falls in 2002 and became pregnant with twins in 2009.

She became ill during her pregnancy.

"When that was done, we just came through. I was so attached to the people at the hospital; they became part of my family," she says.

Now she chairs the Saint Luke's Magic Valley Patient and Family Advisory Council.

"I've been a patient, I've been a family member and caregiver, and it's hard to remember what's it like to be us. One of the things I always to say, when someone says 'oh it's not that bad,’ have you been the person lying in the bed, have you been the person that is waiting for 15 minutes for pain medication to kick in? Have you been that person or have you heard from that person?" she explains.

"It was abundantly clear when our council was coming together, particularly Starla, you know I don't want to pick paint colors for the new hospital; I want to work on projects and programs that make a difference," says Rhonda Bright, Patient Relations Performance Improvement.

Improving patient safety and experience through involvement.

The Patient and Family Advisory Council meets the third Monday of each month from 11 to one at Saint Luke's Magic Valley.