Friday, November 8, 2013

Humboldt needs more medical providers, but they aren't exactly tearing down the redwoods to get here

Come Hither, Dear Doc - The Journal

...If a doctor does make the jump to Humboldt, studies suggest he or she will jump again within a few years. According to a July 2012 study by recruiting firm Jackson & Coker, more than half of the doctors it surveyed stuck it out in their first job for just one to five years.

This does not bode well for Humboldt County, which harbors an unhealthful share of aging, sick, poor, busted-up residents in a remote region infused with an entitled drug culture.

How do you market that to a fresh young doctor, or an experienced one looking for a change?

Because market we must — we're facing a doctor shortage that providers fear might only get worse....

"We have an older population," says Mark Pardoe, a plastic surgeon who is president of Humboldt Medical Specialists, a newish foundation associated with St. Joseph Health System. "We also have a lot of drug use — a lot of meth and heroin use. We have a lot of heart disease and lung disease. We have a lot of people that struggle from a social and mental health standpoint. ... We have a lot of accidents — logging accidents, car wrecks, ATV accidents; there's a lot of bone-breaking here."...

And we don't have enough doctors — of numerous types, says Pardoe, including primary care, orthopedics, nephrology, OB-GYN, anaesthesiology, general surgery and neurosurgery. This means, among other things, that emergency call at the hospital is divided among fewer doctors who are struggling to get by in smaller practices.