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OPINION

Doctors Memorial Hospital:  Looking Forward

Hazel Wells Tison

As most of you know, Holmes County will have an issue on the ballot that is vital to most of us. You will recall that our local hospital Doctors Memorial has struggled financially and earlier this year emergency measures have been taken to keep this critical care facility afloat. With the appointment of two additional board members, the addition of several physicians and other measures,  the hospital is  now on a more stable footing. Jenny Belser Goodman and Jerry Dixon have joined Cynthia Nall Brooks on the hospital board appointed by Gov DeSantas. Two vacancies still exist. four full time doctors have joined the staff and several specialists are practicing part time here and  other specialists are available for tele-medical consultation

     Due to the fact, however,  that we are a public hospital where no one can be turned away regardless of ability to pay, the amount of indigent care is staggering.

Doctor's Memorial Hospital

     As a result, a surtax of ½ percent (sales tax) for the specific purpose of supporting Doctors Memorial Hospital is being proposed and will appear on the November ballot. If you have had experience with our hospital, you know that it is a needed facility and a vital part of our community.  It is a critical care hospital which means that it provides care in the event of an accident, heart attack or stroke or etc. by rendering aid and stabilizing  patients who may have to be treated by specialists elsewhere. Any number of local folks can testify to the  many features of this facility that have proven invaluable in the life of this area.

    We can happily recommend DMH from personal experience. When my husband fell at home and broke his femur in the hip area DMH gave him first aid, stabilized him for transport, then accepted him back following surgery for physical therapy via a “swing bed.” I can’t say enough about the kind of care he received there nor of the convenience of being able to get this care close to home. Skilled nursing care coupled with a staff of  individual employees that show compassion in every area is available only in our hometown hospital. To have driven out of town for therapy would have been a real hardship on this aging family. 

    The Physical Therapy Department with the Swing Bed is a very important  part of  the services offered by DMH.

     Another local resident who can’t say enough good things about our hospital is Joan Ausley, local retired High School librarian. Earlier this year, Joan was exhibiting stroke symptoms and was taken to the emergency room at DMH. The medical staff was prepared and within minutes they were in touch with a Panama City neurologist who saw her via facetime, ordered necessary tests, all of which were able to be run at Doctors Memorial. She received all her treatment here including the 5 days she was an in-patient and then received continued therapy at home with home health. Joan can’t say enough good things about the treatment and care she received from all the nurses and staff. She is almost completely recovered from her stroke and is grateful for the rapid response she received here at home which she credits with minimizing the effects of her stroke. 

         Several new doctors are now on staff at DMH and as illustrated above, telemedicine is extending the scope of specialists’ availability, enabling many medical conditions to be successfully treated here. Other services are also being implemented or are in the works.  One example:  a bus has been donated to be used to transport local patients to doctor visits at the hospital or the adjoining medical building. A Medical Clinic for Ponce de Leon, an extension of Doctors Memorial, is expected to materialize in the not too distant future.

       We trust you will lend your support to the ½ cent sales tax that will appear on the November 6 ballot. Be confident, also, to use the services of our local facility knowing that it is fully accredited and able to take care of your family’s individual needs.