To the Editor:
Dear Doctor Phelps,
I scribe today to express my shock and dismay over the recently disclosed news of your wife Brook and your departure from our community. After discussing the anticipation of the conflagration which will result with various members of the community, I discovered that the preponderance of them are in harmony with my alarm.
Sir, you are the heartbeat and quintessence of medical dispensation for an area of hundreds of square miles around the “metropolitan hub” that constitutes Garberville-Redway. The facility that bears your family name is your legacy — it goes without saying that your skills and ability as a physician are preeminent.
My tour of duty with the U.S. Army in Vietnam left me with a legacy of my own, periodic sebaceous growths that can exceed the size of a chicken egg and appear arbitrarily, mandating removal, a leftover of exposure to Agent Orange and other defoliants. Doctor Phelps’s skill as a surgeon rivals his other virtuosities, rendering him the only practitioner with whom I feel confident enough to negotiate a rapidly maturing, such a growth on my neck which demands redress. My confidence in Doctor Phelps’ skills precludes even consideration of a “new doctor” (near my jugular).
I personally know one woman who, after talking very seriously about suicide in the wake of the loss of her doctor, packed her belongings and relocated to Washington, so impacted was she.
But being a pragmatist in the wake of my life’s experiences, I realize that decisions have been made, plans formulated and wheels in motion, Yet, I beseech you to reevaluate this dilemma and your recent decisions, and most of all, the constituents of the “emerald triangle” and environs who have developed a profound trust for your decision-making and aptitude as a diagnostician and healer.
Doctor Phelps is pivotal, and in my estimation, indispensable to our community and we will truly suffer the loss of you and your wife, spark plugs in this clinic’s engine.
I implore of the community to entreat of you a sincere re-examination, and develop solidarity in supplanting you in the struggles that currently confront you and the beleaguered medical center, that once again, should bear your cognomen.
Let’s begin to right the wrongs, correct the errors and omissions, and level the fiduciary playing field, meriting those who deserve and penalizing those who are overpaid disproportionately. Let’s get the facility back in the control which belongs there.
We already have our own “center of excellence;” that’s why we all reside here.
We don’t need a skewed, outside definition of what and who we “should be.”
Please reconsider, but regardless of the outcome, I’m sure that your former patients, confidantes, and friends unanimously wish you well on your new life.
John W. Reilly