Unfortunately, the life of a small community sometimes necessitates public disagreements that are so important to its institutions that they must occur despite the hard feelings that can be generated. Several years ago in Lewis County we had to engage in such a disagreement which pitted colleagues and neighbors against each other over the future of our public hospital. Fortunately, enough citizens became involved so that a disastrous decision was avoided and the hospital flourished, until recently. Now we are engaged in another such disagreement. The medical staff has become so concerned about decisions being made that we are taking our case to the public after conversations with our governing board have yielded no results.
The details are too many for this forum, but we have been losing valuable providers. The firing of a well-respected surgeon was avoided only after an outpouring of public support. Now we are facing the biggest challenge yet.
Within the next 90 days, we may lose our well-respected and long-established emergency department group, North Country Physicians. Drs. Daniel Cappon, Jon Hager, Sean Harney and Robert Harryman are being forced out by the same subterfuge used against Northern Radiology not long ago. What we need is a large demonstration of support by the public with letters to the editor, the county board and the hospital board and attendance at board meetings.
My entire professional life after residency has been spent working as a member of an amazing team of professionals building a health care facility that we are all proud of. My fear is that if the current trend is not reversed immediately, we may proceed past a point where we can recover what we had. Should I feel compelled to join the exodus from this once-great institution, it will be the saddest day of my life as a physician.
Brian Shambo, M.D.