Wednesday December 31, 2014

Last day of 2014. Time to move on to 2015 and begin another year.

Just a few thoughts about the problems western Sierra County will have to deal with because of the Western Sierra Medical Center decisions to decrease service in western Sierra County. Two incidents were recently told to me firsthand by the patients involved.

The first was chest pain at home intense enough for the patient to call 9-1-1 and request an ambulance. Downieville VFD and EMTs responded on the ambulance and thanks to it not being January 2015 were able to take the patient to the WSMC site in Downieville where FNP Grutkowski was able to determine by EKG and other tests that the patient was not experiencing a heart problem and did not have to take an hour plus ride down the a winding two lane road to a hospital, or go by medical helicopter (if the weather is good) for further treatment, but could go home relax and go to follow up appointments for further tests in an orderly fashion. After January 1st, this can’t happen, if you call 9-1-1 you will have to be transported out of the county to a hospital emergency room or sign a release refusing to go on the ambulance. If you are taken to the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital (where Katherine A. Medeiros, Hospital President & CEO is also on the Board of Directors for Western Sierra Medical Center) you only have to hope you have a family member or friend who has foliowed the ambulance down to take you home or else you are stuck, feeling lousy far from home…

According to the Mountain Messenger story on the front page last week (written by WSMC Board member Don Russell) this will be better because it gets you to the proper emergency treatment faster. The Mt. Mess story ignored the costs of ambulance, helicopter and all the other issues that involve going to an out of county hospital emergency room. He also sought to impugn the past 40 years of emergency care by suggesting that emergency care was provided based upon the ability to increase revenue for the Clinic at the expense of delayed more appropriate medical emergency care. This is totally untrue. He has no basis in fact to support his comment.

That is just a quick glimpse of the problems arising from the decision of the Board of Directors to diminish service in western Sierra County while increasing facilities and services to an area in Nevada County that already has a plethora of medical resources. A growing dynasty for WSMC CEO Scott McFarland and SNMH President and CEO Katherine Medeiros it appears.

The second incident was told to me first hand by a patient who mentioned how rude and dismissive the new medical director was during a visit to the Downieville WSMC. The patient was there for back and knee pain, this person is a hard working woman in Downieville that brings a lot to Downieville both personally and professionally. Rather than discussing the issue at hand the medical provider, Glenn Thiel, DO focused on the patients weight and saying the problem was the same he has seen in everyone up here … “perhaps you should be doing something about this,” while miming  shoveling food into his mouth. Very professional. The hurt feelings and total disrespect evidenced in his demeanor is not worthy of any medical professional. Thiel has also ridiculed clinic staff, the town and residents suggesting he doesn’t understand how anyone would want to live here…. ok, lucky for us he doesn’t. Last we knew, put downs, sexism, ageism and ridicule were not effective evidence based medical intervention strategies. It says more about the insecurity of the individual using those techniques.

Just a piece of information for those who are interested. FNP Frank Lang is working Fridays at Sierra Family Clinic on Tyler Foote Rd on the San Juan Ridge, since there are no clinic provider services here. I have been there and registered as a patient and been seen by FNP Lang and met Dr. Peter Van Houten, M.D.. I don’t want to undermine the services of the WSMC Downieville site as FNP Lora Lee Grutkowski is an excellent medical provider very thorough and knowledgeable and we need to support the site. However, based on issues that continue to surface it might be a good idea to have some options available. FNP Lang is now part of the DVFD ambulance response team as an MICN. Enloe Hospital is still working with DVFD Ambulance in spite of WSMC canceling the contract which allowed the ambulance to go to the Clinic. We are grateful to everyone who is covering the large gaps left in our medical security left by the actions of the Administration and BOD of WSMC.

Remember if you are experiencing chest pain you should always call 9-1-1. The EMTs cannot diagnose but you will get to where you need to be safely and it is never a good idea to get in a car with chest pain or possible stroke symptoms.  Meanwhile Monday through Thursday during the day call Western Sierra Medical Clinic 530 289-3298 to talk to a medical provider.

Sierra Family Medical Clinic is 530 292-3478 Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m and Saturday 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. located at 15301 Tyler Foote Rd, San Juan Ridge.      Sierra County Regional Medical Resources 2015

This week we have a guest column from Robert Dodge and another from Tom Hastings with a radical idea which of course DeVita totally disagrees with, while I may have thought,  “hmmm… what a good idea..”  the only Constitutional Amendment I know of to be repealed was the 18th amendment which was Prohibition. Of course being a fan of Carrie Nation, that was a good amendment for me…. meanwhile I don’t want the free speech taken away anymore than the gun people would give up their rights..

So Carol went to the movies, Carrie cleaned her closets, The Cats and the Others welcomed winter. Gabby made Resolutions and of course the local news such as it is between Thanksgiving and New Years not much happens in Sierra County. Except the coffee club can now meet at the Downieville Grocery Store… so Peace and Joy to all for 2015. Let’s have a good year, we can make it happen.

The cover photo this week says time to stock and store for winter weather taken by Mary Davey,

One thought on “Wednesday December 31, 2014

  1. I resist the urge to be inflammatory…but Thiel is the Dr. who asked an ill patient at the ER if she wanted anything special done if something happened.

    She didn’t understand the question and he wrote down DNR. I explained the questioned clearly to her and she said, “oh yes, I’d like you to try to save me.” I asked him to change the order. He didn’t and wouldn’t. Had to get a nurse to change it later when admission came. Cold hearted…shouldn’t see patients.

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