County looking for interim medical director

Published 5:51pm Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Interim Polk County Manager Marche Pittman said the county is in the process of putting together a plan to seek an interim medical director.

Last week, Dr. Allison Owens submitted a notice of resignation advising the county she would no longer continue service as medical director, effective Feb. 15. At that point the county must have someone else in place to serve as medical director on at least an interim basis.

“The last thing we want is to be unprepared for something like that,” Pittman said.

County commissioners voted 4-1 to “go in a new direction” with the position of medical director during their Jan. 7 meeting. The commission asked Dr. Owens to remain in the position until they were able to appoint a new director. At the time Owens agreed to do so on a temporary basis.

Without a medical director in place, Owens said, first responders and paramedics would be stripped of their ability to administer medicines, start IVs, secure airways and use EPI pens. The only medical treatment responders can provide in the absence of a medical director is to administer CPR, give oxygen and transport patients to the hospital.

Pittman said the county would not allow that scenario to occur yet the commission doesn’t plan to fill the position in haste.

“We need to slow down; it doesn’t need to be a fast choice. It needs to be something all the parties involved can agree to,” Pittman said.

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