Time to get angry, prevent downsizing of hospital
Just over eight months ago I wrote a letter to the editor expressing my concern regarding the transfer of ownership of Sutter Coast Hospital to Sutter Health. That concern has not abated, but has increased significantly by the events that have transpired since then.
First, the chief of staff of the hospital, Dr. Greg Duncan, has apparently been placed on double-secret probation by the Dean (see "Animal House," the movie) of the Sutter Health legal team and is not allowed to attend certain parts of meetings of the Board of Directors. The reason for Sutter's action is that Dr. Duncan has been deemed a subversive (see Joe McCarthy, the Red Scare) because he has publicly stated that he thinks Sutter Coast Hospital should honor the promises it made to this community when it was given monopoly privilege over hospital care in our region.
The promises as written in the original agreement between Sutter Health and the Del Norte Healthcare District are: Sutter Coast Hospital will be governed by a board, the majority of whose members will be residents of Del Norte County. The quality of care provided to patients by Sutter Coast Hospital shall meet or exceed the quality of care presently provided at the existing hospital. (Lease Agreement page 2, 3/19/1987.)
Second, it has been discovered that there are two studies that have been conducted regarding the downsizing of Sutter Coast Hospital to Critical Access status, reducing the number of beds to 25. The problem is Sutter Health will not allow anyone in the community to see the documents. Where is Daniel Ellsberg when you need him? (See Pentagon Papers).
A call to action might be to follow John Belushi's lead in "Animal House": "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?" or would it be more appropriate to stand at the window and shout as Howard Beale (see "Network," the movie) did: "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore."
If nothing happens to change the direction of Sutter, we may not have a community economically viable to survive the next decade.
Jim Coston, Crescent City
We're going downhill; no leadership to stop it
As Sutter Health works quietly behind the scenes to take over our hospital and regionalize it, we need to get some serious action going to stop this! Our community has seen the lumber industry vanish and the fishing industry decimated. We brought in a huge prison which was supposed to make us a "boom town" but instead clogs our justice system and pulls in bad elements of our society, along with a terrible rise in drug trafficking.
We now see a new super-Walmart up and running, without regard for the smaller businesses in our community who are trying to make it but probably can't compete. (Please support your local grocery stores/hardware stores!)
Where is the leadership in this town/this county? Evidently the will to do big things is not present in their thinking. If our hospital is lost to Sutter because of ineptitude, complacency, fear, or just plain ignorance, we will have no one but ourselves to blame as we see our economy and way of life tilt downward for lack of decent medical care. No thinking person would move his family here knowing that they would have to be shipped out for anything other than a minor illness. What competent physician would be willing to set up practice here?
Lilyan Wood, Crescent City