Impressions of the PHD meeting

The Timberline room was standing room only, with at least 40 citizens and hospital staff in attendance.  Bill Pinkham is not an effective leader, which we already knew, but he has this nervous habit of always trying to make a joke ("with the number of people already on the speaker's list, it looks like we'll be here until 10 o'clock") when lightening the mood is not appropriate, and frankly impossible, given the hamhandedness on the part of this board that led to people disrupting their schedule for an emergency meeting.

At the open, the board was sitting there like cats with mouths stuffed full of canary, and introduced the HR guy like parents waking their kids up on Christmas, who said (and not much else) "Dr. MacElwee will return to the hospital on Wednesday."  Did MayBill really think this would either (A) immediately deflate the palpable tension in the room or (B) cause people to shower the board with praise and gifts, problem solved?  Suppose I kidnap and enslave you, and then 10 days later tell your friends and family, "I am releasing this person back into your care, no thanks necessary."  Do you really think that is effective governance, or deserving of forgiveness or understanding?

The first public comment, a staff person reading from a prepared text, likely went over the 2-3 minute time limit, which MayBill pointed out to no one in particular - this was not the time to enforce time limits, and every individual who spoke after that, notes or no notes, emotions held in check or not, stayed on point, did a marvelous job of advocating for Dr. MacElwee, and asked the questions that needed to be asked, the questions the board (if they are competent) have to start asking themselves (and should have been asking themselves 10 days ago).  This man trained at Mayo, board members, and somehow brought himself to be satisfied practicing in your glorified Bass Pro Shop in Estes Park. Do you understand Mayo is not short for mayonnaise?  Do you know how easy it is to replace Caribbean-trained doulas compared to Mayo-trained pediatricians who can also double as internists?  Instead, it became clear the board had been prepped beforehand to say nothing except "we hear you", and indeed, if they can be believed, were learning some of these details for the first time, or hadn't bothered looking into the details, because it's not like they're elected board members, charged with knowing hospital-related matters inside and out.

I would prefer my board members sleep deprived and going through some of the same anguish the speakers were expressing, arguing among themselves, not handing off questions like they were a baton.  Instead, they all welcomed each other to the room with pats on the back as if this was a trial they had to suffer through, and tried to fake smooth things over (Diane Muno, if she doesn't have a designated position above secretary or treasurer, should keep her fat mouth shut) without having the facts at hand.  I appreciate transparency, but not when it reveals you have nothing going on up there.

The public comment started at 4:00 p.m. and ended at 4:30 p.m.  It is a shame more people didn't say what they came prepared to say, instead of giving this board yet another chance to fulfill the promises they made to the county commissioners when they were first appointed:  (1) Transparency.  (2) Good governance.  (3) Implementing the rule of law, not crafting ad hoc solutions on the fly that clearly violate the rules you have in place, not falling back on the good-ole boy system of deciding in private, acting with impunity, and (not) apologizing later.  Yet until the citizens in the room (and more importantly, those not in the room) stop cutting MayBill slack, they will get exactly what they deserve from his "team" approach - An orchestrated, approved in advance, no dissent, superficial discussion form of leadership.  In this instance, the team approach was woefully ineffective.  You had ten days to prepare, and you suffered a blow-out loss:  Either get a better coach, practice harder, or draft some new replacements.

So at the afterparty, the recall committee agreed the current board should have one final chance to do the things they were clearly charged (by the community, imagine, the community being ahead of the board on this matter) to do:  Issue an apology, affirm without wiggle room this type of behavior should not and will not be tolerated in the future, and reinstate Dr. MacElwee without cloud or caveat.  If he stays after being manhandled by a second-rate butcher, he's a better individual than me.  If the Estes Park Trail-Gazette publishes anything on this besides a board-regurgitated press release, I'll eat my weight in wild boar chitterlings.

Stay tuned, because the board's first go at this was a complete failure, and did nothing to reassure the public in attendance the board as currently comprised was going to get to the bottom of this, or even had any interest in getting on top of it.  It was all just a dream we had, 10 days ago, just a dream captured by security footage we won't examine, and witnesses we won't debrief.


  1. I'm understand you need to rant on about the board of directors and this matter with Dr Mac; but I Greg S. Rodenmeyer( notice I've included MY name unlike you), take exception to your lambasting of a hospital I take pride in working at and serving the public.You included should you walk into my OR.
    Many of us at EPMC decades of experience and push the limit to give our patients the best that we can! To continually hear comments that are hogwash burn my core but serve we do, despite Your uninformed, noxious divisive rhetoric! So...bash the board if you so feel the need but Apologize to the rest of us hardworking, dedicated medical professionals at EPMC that are here to serve you! Thank you, Greg S. Rodenmeyer

  2. Thanks Greg. I trained at Duke University Medical Center, in Durham, North Carolina, a tertiary care facility, and anyone familiar with this blog knows exactly who I am. Please point out where in this blog entry I directly criticized Greg Rodenmeyer or the Estes Park OR.
    Note that Estes Park Medical Center has no MICU, NICU, SICU, or any teaching aspects qualifying it to call itself a "Medical Center". it's just there is no one in town besides me, apparently, who can make the distinction and is willing to speak out. Please continue to carry that chip on your shoulder and provide the best care you can to those who find themselves unable to hie themselves to a real medical center in Boulder or Denver when they need the absolute best in cutting-edge care. That won't be me, so you don't have to worry about having to treat someone you dislike with the same level of care you provide someone you do. And continue to overcharge families $1000+ for a Strep test in the ER, and ship any complications after your hernia repairs down to Longmont.

  3. I'm sorry you feel I dislike, as that's not what I said. The chip, you refer too, is also not true; your perception.
    We all have the right to voice our opinion, as you do in your blog. I just happen to take exception to my hospital being calls a Bass Pro Shop. At least you did include the word "Pro".
    So continue on with your epgarbage, as that's your right; and I will continue to give excellent patient care, as I have for 30 years, as that's what we pleged to do.
    Good day and thanks for your reply!

  4. Thanks Greg. The "Bass Pro Shop" referred to the outside appearance, which is far too ornate for what goes on inside. I like my hospitals trimmed to the bone as far as fancy extras - we do a much poorer job of our babies living to 1 year of age in America than many other countries, despite having the best-looking birthing rooms and the highest standard of living. Obviously, this care is not distributed evenly across the board, and I think Estes Park gets a whole bunch of taxpayer money to keep a whole bunch of non-sick individuals pampered until they get better on their own. The CEO touts the fact that there were no hospital-acquired infections last year. That is actually (counterintuitively) a bad thing, because it means either (a) your lab is not qualified to culture, and so they are being missed or (b) you are not practicing real medicine over there. There are also no hospital-acquired infections at Big O Tires, or Fun City. So I'm not sure if you want to be bragging about how you are no different than these two entities, which are absolutely not involved in patient care.

  5. Thanks Garbage Collector. I can't speak for the hospital nor the CEO, just my opinion.
    Maybe, because your blog is actually called " garbage" is why I haven't seen it before; nor still, do I know who you are.
    No worries! Again, good day.

  6. Greg - Thanks again. Shouldn't you be in the OR? Or is there a light schedule today? I have a rule, which is the same rule EstesTruth adopted, perhaps for the same reasons, perhaps not: When the Estes Park Trail-Gazette, which in the past never ran an unsigned editorial, starts signing their editorials, I will gladly affix my name to the top or bottom of everything I write. They have decided they want to pretend to be the New York Times, where it doesn't really matter who signs an opinion piece created in house because it likely reflects the opinion of at least 10,000 people (or 10,000 maniacs could be found to agree with anything - New York is a big place). Estes Park has maybe about six folks who write or think well enough to serve on a big-time editorial board (as far as individuals who could easily be slotted into the New York Times editorial board and serve competently for, oh, let's say a year), currently I would say at best 1 (maybe, generously 2) of those 6 individuals actually sits on the Trail-Gazette editorial board. So here's the problem: When the Estes Park Trail-Gazette writes an unsigned editorial, it could be the view of 1 person, maybe 10 people at best, in any case the very real possibility exists that it is not a majority view, and does not reflect the actual opinions of actual flesh and blood people beyond the circle of friends or blood-relatives of the person writing it. What's worse, those one or two people who may be qualified to write editorials have such distinctive writing styles, anyone with half-a-brain already recognizes who wrote it. So not signing it is not only silly, it's false modesty, and none of the current Trail-Gazette editorial board has a shortage of overconfidence. The IMAX proposal is a perfect example of an editorial not grounded in reality. The same anonymous "board" wrote the same glowing praise when EPIC proposed squatting on the downtown slab, so nothing has changed there. But the T-G was dumb enough to put the IMAXstrosity on their FB page, and the feedback (and the T-G never gets feedback) was overwhelmingly negative. So their audience does not match their editorial board. They are back pedaling propaganda, and in the case of the Mac Attack, not covering actual news. This is not a newspaper, this is a barely hanging on vanity project, a gel-sol for execrably bad advertising.

  7. I'm out on bereavement, as my Father died Sunday, morning thank you. I spentALL DAY SUNDAY, in the OR serving my community; in their time of need! Where were you? You seem to wander a bit in your focus. So... I will continue on in my service to this community, excellent patient care; and you continue with yours. Which by your own words, is Garbage! Good day!

  8. Thanks Greg. If my father had died on Sunday, it is very unlikely I would be corresponding at length with someone I didn't know on Tuesday, especially someone who upset me. I would likely be with friends and close family, writing the eulogy or preparing in other ways for the funeral or sharing memories with close friends and family. On Sunday, I researched and wrote three blog entries and acquired two pieces of ephemera critical for Estes Park's early history. I don't know if you scrubbed in on a mitral valve replacement or simply assisted with a jejunoileal bypass, but in a larger hospital, my guess is there would have been a replacement available for someone suffering the shock of acute bereavement. Your father would have been proud of you.


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