The following statements were made available to me yesterday, March 8, 2015. It is two statements in response to Dr. Papas’ editorial in the El Paso Times. As you might remember, from yesterday’s post, the El Paso Times refused to print a letter to the editor from various physicians at the children’s hospital even it though they had promised to. Instead, they published a column by Constantine Papas.
First, I wanted to share with you a statement made by Carlos Gutierrez, who was instrumental and passionate about bringing the El Paso Children’s Hospital to El Paso. Gutierrez wrote:
[The statement is reproduced in its entirety including typographical errors.]
“Who is this guy the Times picked to give a guest editorial on the UMC-EPCH mediations? I looked up his info on Doc Book, and apparently he is an 83 yr old retired general surgeon, who is not even a member of the El Paso County Medical Society, or involved in any significant community activities. His worthless, and harmful, comments are the exact type of thinking that will keep medicine in El Paso mediocre, at best. I can’t believe who the Times decided to pick as a voice for the community, especially when we have passionate pediatricians, who submitted an eloquent letter to the Times clearly outlining the pediatrician’s viewpoint! I am simply fuming at Papa’s moronic and imbecilic statements-idiots like him are fossils in our era of healthcare in El Paso, and with that kind of thinking, we would never have received the influx of high quality pediatricians and subspecialists that we now have in our beautiful city. Let’s keep the fight up as doctors and continue to fight for those ideals that have
made Pediatrics in El Paso second to none!!!”
Donald E. Meier also responded to Papas’ letter. I am publishing it as it was submitted to me:
THE OPPOSITE VIEW OF DR. PAPAS’ GUEST COLUMN 3/8/2015
I would like to express a different view from Dr. Papas’ in the EP Times 3/8/2015. The EP Children’s Hospital is a tremendous accomplishment of which the citizens of El Paso should be extremely proud. Only 3 years old the hospital has compassionately cared for thousands of sick children. If you as a citizen of EP have never toured the hospital, you should do so to understand what a wonderful jewel you have helped to create and how a children’s hospital is so much better than the pediatric wing of a general hospital. The EPCH patient satisfaction surveys are overwhelmingly positive. To expect EPCH to be in the top 25 hospitals in the nation at this stage is totally and even comically absurd. Yes, there are still some children that have to be transferred to one of the top 2 hospitals in the state, mainly because of cardiac problems. However, before all of the political blowup between the 2 hospitals, EPCH was working to get cardiac surgery in EP. It traditionally has been quite difficult to recruit any doctors to EP, especially pediatric specialists. When EPCH opened, the hospital and the medical school were able to recruit a large number of pediatric specialists just because of the desire to minister to the grossly underserved children of this whole region. We now have 3 pediatric endocrinologists to take care of the massive number of diabetic children in the area, 3 pediatric gastroenterologists, 3 pediatric surgeons and the list could go on and on. The 3rd pediatric surgeon came here solely because we had a stand-alone children’s hospital serving a grossly under-served population, and she felt the call to minister to these kids. To lose the EPCH would be a phenomenal, irretrievable blow to the care of children in EP. Without this hospital or with the hospital under control of UMC, we as pediatric health care personnel would be back to where we were 3 years ago—striving for mediocrity at best. To be known as the pediatric ward of UMC would significantly decrease our ability to recruit more pediatric specialists to this area. Children need and deserve their own hospital. The Chamber of Commerce, the Mayor, and the EP County Commissioners should be actively fighting to preserve the integrity of EPCH since major businesses considering a move to EP will be quite interested in whether we as a community can provide the highest quality health care for their employees’ children. The $90 million debt noted by Dr. Papas should be labeled the “presumed” debt. A neutral auditor other than UMC should determine what the true debt is. I and the medical staff of EPCH urge the Boards of both UMC, EPCH, and Paul L. Foster School of Medicine to meet in good faith to determine not who wins and who loses, but how we as the community of EP can work together to save this outstanding asset for our under-served and deserving children. Please do not let politics cause our children and our city to suffer a permanent blow that knocks us out of the big time forever!