County should work with medical director

Published 10:04am Wednesday, January 23, 2013

To the editor:

I read with interest the article regarding Dr. [Allison] Owens.

First I cannot say thank you enough to the many people who volunteer in Polk County. The hours spent by people in our community supporting not only EMS and the local fire departments, but also Habitat for Humanity, Steps to HOPE, Hospice, the Foothills Humane Society, various county committee positions and many others, can never be quantified.

Without volunteers, Polk County would not be the wonderful place that it is. Having said that, I also believe we must be responsible in the services we provide. As a member of this community Mr. [Michael] Gage is representing me when he fires Dr. Owens for an issue that has been in existence for “8 to 10 years.”

I would like to apologize to Dr. Owens for that act. I should be thanking you not firing you. I do not know Dr. Owens, but anyone who is willing to allow untrained people to respond to a medical emergency under her license without training is a braver person than I am, regardless of her financial compensation.

As a member of this community it is reassuring to know that if I call 911 for a medical emergency someone will respond. I would prefer that those individuals who are nice enough to help me know what to do when they arrive, after all that is why I called them.

Mr. Gage stated that he was sure Dr. Owens has done the best she can, then why are we firing her?  What have the county commissioners done to assist her in implementing these training requirements? If there are bruised feelings or strained relationships I see it as the county commissioners’ responsibility to heal these wounds. How hard can this be?

First responders need training; if they are unable to attend classes then we need to be more flexible with training availability. If they are unwilling to attend training, that is a different issue. If a first responder is going to attend to my sick or injured child, they better know what they are doing. If the only thing they want to do is drive the ambulance, don’t forget that there is training and testing required for that also. It is called having a valid N.C. driving license.

I would encourage the Polk County Commissioners to sit down with Dr. Owens and come up with a plan that will accommodate everyone. We all benefit from this service at some point in time; today could be your day. Let’s make sure we are prepared for the worst and train all first responders.

- Cathy Hoosier, Tryon

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