To the Editor:
It is with great sadness that I write this letter. Having worked at the Ottauquechee Health Center as a physician off and on for years, I feel that the recent letters to the editors do not do justice to the staff at the center. I could be trite and say they are dedicated, warm, compassionate, empathetic, etc., which is all true, but I think it boils down to the fact that they really care for everyone who walks through the door.
I cannot comment on the specific incidents that have recently been quoted, but I can say that that’s certainly not been my experience.
When I first worked there we saw patients 24 hours a day. That was 25 years ago; times have changed. As medical professionals we have a “Standard of Care” that we all try to follow. Giving advice over the phone to a patient we have never seen before is not safe.
The Physicians and Nurse Practitioners on call at night have access to OHC patient records so they can give informed advice; this cannot be done if they do not know the patients.
Asking a patient to come to the Health Center at night is not safe. The Health Center is not set up as an emergency room, as is the case with most Community Health Centers. If you need care in the middle of the night you want the best available and that is DHMC or Mt. Ascutney. They can do extensive evaluations, which is most likely what is needed in the middle of the night. Stopping at the health center wastes valuable time and time is often of the essence in such a situation.
I hope we can focus on how lucky we are to have such a facility in our community and value all the care they give us and not dwell on what they do not and should not do.
Judith Hills, MD, MS
To the Editor: