Friday, February 25, 2011

Stories from the Clippings

Squawk! And Squawk, Squawk, Back!
Say it now or forever hold your peace.

"Frenchy" Chuinard, MD

Here are two letters to the editor that came through when noted physician, Frenchy Chuinard, MD., publicly invited (in the Portland Journal) "constructive suggestion[s]" regarding the Multnomah County Hospital. The indigent sick: 1 for and 1 against.

Adrian Hughes, self-identified indigent, took Frenchy up on his offer. A squawk letter to the editor made three very specific suggestions:

Suggestion No. 1: Let the society [Multnomah County Medical Society] replace the hard, body twisting benches and crowded waiting room with one which is more suitable for the "indigent sick." Let them pattern this waiting room after the offices of Director Charles N. Holman, which are airy, spacious, beautifully appointed, and as far as I could see, largely unoccupied and unused.

Suggestion No. 2: When a doctor makes a diagnosis, have the doctor put this diagnosis in writing, with the doctor's name signed at the bottom, if the patient requests it. Early in 1950, I asked for such a written diagnosis, but was told by Dr. Charles L. Holman's secretary that this coudn't be done, because "it isn't customary, " and "it is not a policy of the institution."
As a result of the diagnosis incident, I sent a letter to Dr. Holman early in 1950. The letter was a "squawk letter", typical of those which people write who believe they have been treated unfairly. Maybe Dr. Holman never got the letter. At any rate, several months have passed and I have never received a reply.

Suggestion No. #3: Let Dr. Holman at least acknowledge such letters received from squawking patients. Other wise they might get the idea they are being given the run-around. Patients like me, for example.

Six days later, indigent, Mrs. Dora Grunow replied to the Squawk letter support of two grand institutions, the University of Oregon medical school and Multnomah county hospital, which have kept me alive for 11 years.

It is unfair, she writes, to criticize Dr. Holman or any of the directors or staff members at the hospital. I think it is a privilege to sit on the so-called "body-twisting" benches. I guess Mr. Hughes has never stopped to imagine what would happen to big, soft easy chairs being used by the public at the rate of 1000 persons daily.

Maybe he could get better service if he went to a private hospital. As for me, I say God bless the benches and the wonderful directors and staff in this place. Many thanks to them all. I am an idigent sick.

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