I read with interest Ms. Berbereia’s letter to the editor of the Visalia Times Delta dated June 28th. In her letter she states…”our new hospital tower will have a helipad.” I am quite sure the local pigeon and crow populations will enjoy their new roost. Ms. Berbereia also stated …”One day someone you know may need that emergency lift-off.” Lift-off is the operative word not landing. What this statement says is that if a helicopter lands at TRMC it will be for the purpose of transporting a TRMC patient to a facility where they can receive specialized care. This statement in no way reflects on the skilled and dedicated employees of the TRMC that have always put patients above everything else. This falls directly on the shoulders of this current board and the previous and current out of town managers they hired and their inability to recruit and retain qualified and certified medical specialist.
The TRMC and this board should be aware of the following document. The Central California Emergency Medical Services, Policy 547, Patient Destination which was revised on 03/06/2016. This is the policy which governs Fresno, Kings, Madera and Tulare counties that determines which facility patients will be transported to by ambulance or helicopter based on the trauma destination chart. Heart attack, burns, penetrating injuries, falls, orthopedic injuries and one mentioned by Laura Gadke in her June 18th letter, including stroke, all will go to KDMC, RMC, SAMC or VCH.
I am tired of people telling me that HCCA has said that if the Measure I does not pass TRMC will close. Egos are too big to let that happen and besides KDMC’s bond failed and their doors are still open. Stop using scare tactics on the public telling them that they would never survive an ambulance transport to another hospital. We have outstanding ambulance providers and paramedics in this county that exceed the required standards for patient care. So, if you call 9-1-1 for an ambulance you will be taken to the facility that can best insure your survivability.
Also, within the policy are provisions for Patient’s Choice and Closest Appropriate Hospital defined as “the closest emergency department equipped, staffed, and prepared to administer care appropriate to the needs of the patient.” If you choose to travel by personal vehicle to the hospital they always have the helipad to lift you off to a facility where you can receive specialized care.
Stephen C. Harrell