Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Yet another story on medicine in rural America

The dateline is Panguitch, Utah, population 1,623, which is in Garfield County, population 4,658, with a population density of less than a person a square mile. Read Kirk Johnson's story in the New York Times here. An excerpt follows:
The rule of thumb in small-town America is that doctors go away. ... Rural spots like Panguitch — population 1,500, 90 minutes to the nearest city of any size — are increasingly pressed to have doctors at all. Rarer still are physicians like Dr. Miller, 32, who grew up here, went away to study and hone his craft, then came back to practice.
To learn more about Panguitch and why Dr. Miller is there, so read the rest of the story here.

1 comment:

Slice of Pink said...

Rural places have few doctors, even fewer specialists. In fact, as the article points out, all three physicians at Garfield Memorial Hospital in Panguitch are primary care physicians. I can imagine that rural doctors feel a great deal of stress as they serve in a variety of capacities and can’t send a patient down the hall to see a specialist.

How do the three doctors deal with the challenges of working in a rural place? “It is primary care and all hands on deck when the emergency room has business, which means, the doctors say, that they do not compete and egos get checked at the door.” The doctors even make rounds together sometimes, figuring that “three heads are better than one.”

Connecting rural physicians to urban specialists through modern technology may also be a way to help rural primary care doctors with many of the challenges they face.