Regarding PeaceHealth Peace Island Medical Center: I have lived on this island since 1972. When I first arrived, the sole doctor for the county was Dr. Malcolm Health. He and his dedicated nurses handled all medical issues in the small building now home to public health and the planning department. Over time, as the population grew, a new clinic was built and more doctors and nurses were hired. Emergencies were treated on an “on call” basis – call 911 and then have the doctor on-call telephone you.
There were no doctors trained specifically as emergency room doctors. They did a fine job within the limitations of the environment. Running a private rural clinic was a financial nightmare. It became apparent that there needed to be, not only an offering of a higher level of care, but connection to a larger medical system in order to provide comprehensive health care for our growing and aging population. I do not know why many islanders have decided to turn their wrath on the very source of our healthcare security.
I have seen this happening before, whether toward the Alton Boyce recall or toward the ferry system. Perhaps it is the character of small towns. I ask you all to use a modicum of common sense in your support or non-support of Peace Island. Remember the days of one physician and overworked and sometimes unprepared health care workers. Remember our aging population with its attendant complicated health issues.
Try to understand that all the rumors about what PeaceHealth can and won’t do overlook the willingness of our physicians, in confidence, to address patient issues as they arise. Be comforted knowing that access to a larger regional hospital gives the island access to skills not otherwise available as the field of medicine becomes ever more complex. It is the safety of your selves and your loved ones that is the priority.
I respect and appreciate the health care professionals with whom I work. I also appreciate the jobs that have been made available to this community,including mine. I hope you will see the gifts we have been given and put your energies into making this hospital a community endeavor. It is not“we” and “they.” It is “us.”
San Juan Island