Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

February 9, 2013

Time for residents to hear the truth

(Continued)

Dr. Parks, Sissy Brown and I spent countless unpaid hours writing policies and procedures in order to house ICE and federal marshal detainees. We spent our own time and resources visiting other facilities to better educate ourselves to do the best job possible for these paying beds. Never once did we receive any positive feedback. I worked with Good Samaritan Hospital to get 85 percent of the medical equipment donated to the jail, saving the county thousands of dollars. Again, not even a thank you. We just considered who we were dealing with.

The unvarnished truth of why Dr. Parks and I left the jail is the staffing in the medical department was critically deficient and we felt the liability was too great to continue working there. The staff was providing excellent patient care, but there was some sacrifice to less important tasks such as filing paperwork. This was brought to command staff on numerous occasions, and nothing was getting done to help with staffing. In fact, we had a meeting with command staff in November and felt like things were going to get better. That evening, after our meeting, a Major went to the medical department and told them he was hired to be the hatchet man and he was cutting three nurses (odd that he had just hired a personal secretary...). Obviously, under those circumstances, most of the staff sought other employment. At that point, Dr. Parks and I felt it was time to leave also.

Another popular myth is the ICE detainees were removed because of inadequate medical care. False. I spoke personally with Josh Pollman, the ICE liaison, on Nov. 29, 2012, and asked him about the allegations of poor care. HE stated he was pulling the chronically ill patients due to lack of staffing and some issues that hadn't been corrected on the correctional side. He said he had no issues with the care, but issues with the amount of help because it fell below standards. There was one physical that hadn't been dated, but had been corrected. After the nursing staff was told by a Major they could work for free because there would be no new staff, all but two left. That, along with some very minor paperwork errors, minor corrections problems, according to Josh, is why the detainees were pulled. The staffing issue was an ongoing problem that was brought to command staff since the middle of summer and their idea of fixing it was to cut more people.

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