Medical regulators are accusing Dr. Michael A. Palmer of gross negligence, saying the Eureka surgeon failed to repair one patient’s hernia correctly and created false or misleading records on that patient and one other.
The episodes occurred in 2010 and 2011, according to a formal accusation that the state Attorney General’s Office has filed on behalf of the Medical Board of California.
Through an attorney, Palmer denied the accusations and declined to be interviewed.
“Dr. Palmer has done nothing but provide excellent care to his patients and is confident that the Medical Board will not be able to prove that there is a basis for the claims,” attorney Michael Morrison wrote in an email to the Journal late Wednesday afternoon. The board’s allegations “are not accurate,” the email said.
The Medical Board investigates complaints against doctors, but most of those complaints never rise to the level of a formal accusation. First, the board’s staffers have to think there is enough merit to assign an investigator. Then, as the matter is investigated, “we have a burden of proof we have to meet for the Attorney General’s Office,” said Cassandra Hockenson, the board’s public affairs manager.
The Oct. 30 accusation against Palmer outlines two cases, starting with “SM,” a woman who was seen by Palmer’s physician assistant in late 2009 and then scheduled for surgery in January. Before the operation, a transcription made its way into hospital records of what the accusation calls a “purported” physical examination done on Jan. 12. The trouble with that? When board investigators questioned Palmer, “respondent acknowledged that he did not see SM at any time before the morning of the January 13, 2010 surgery.”
Cal Fire Captain Eric Ayers of Mattole Station doesn't want another call like the one his crew responded to in July of this year. The victim crawled "quite a ways" along the river bar and then was transported an additional eight miles to the county road before emergency personnel were contacted. He had a severe neck injury and "should not have been moved in the first place." Roughly six hours elapsed between the time of injury and the time first responders were able to treat him. Ayers suspects the victim was involved in some illegal activity, and he doesn't care.
“Our mission is to provide public safety to the citizens of this state. We're not in the realm of investigating illegal grows. We respond to medical or fire emergencies. It's not our intention to bring police action on anyone.”
Treating any patient for chronic pain;
Supervising, advising, or otherwise overseeing any physician assistant, nurse practitioner or other practitioner in the care and treatment of a patient with chronic pain; and
Possessing — except personally by valid prescription (with notification of the Board) or as stored in the locked cabinet at the medical practice — prescribing, dispensing, furnishing, administering, or otherwise distributing any Schedule II or III controlled substances.
St. Joseph Health – Humboldt County is pleased to announce David O’Brien, MD has been chosen as its new President. Dr. O’Brien has been filling the role as interim president since March of this year at St. Joseph and Redwood Memorial hospitals.
In the few short months Dr. O’Brien has been in Humboldt County, he has made a significant impact. Dr. O’Brien has set very high standards for the local ministries and has brought tremendous energy in achieving the highest standards of patient safety and experience. His effective communication skills have already been visible within both the ministries and our community.
A familiar face on the North Coast, Dr. O’Brien began his clinical career as a family practice physician in Eureka in 1988. In 2000, he completed his master’s degree in administrative medicine from the University of Wisconsin which allowed him to take a path outside of clinical medicine and into management. He has held numerous positions over the years and most recently comes from St. Mary Medical Center – a ministry of St. Joseph Health in Apple Valley, California. At St. Mary, he filled roles including VP of Medical Affairs and CMO, Senior Vice President and COO, and Interim President and CEO. Dr. O’Brien received both his bachelor’s degree and medical degree from U.C. Davis.
“I’m excited to be back on the North Coast to continue working in health care, and this time in a new capacity,” Dr. O’Brien said. “I have a strong connection to Humboldt County – this is where I first started practicing medicine and I raised my family here. I am proud of the service and quality of care St. Joseph and Redwood Memorial hospitals provide for our community and I’m proud to be here helping to guide the future of health care for the North Coast,” added Dr. O’Brien.
Dr. O’Brien is a proven leader who keeps St. Joseph Health’s mission and values at the forefront of his actions and decisions. He prides himself on being engaged and visible, interacting with staff, creating meaningful and lasting change, and making patient care a top priority. His years of experience and knowledge of St. Joseph Health will provide for a seamless transition for St. Joseph and Redwood Memorial hospitals.
Fires in Southern Oregon and Eastern Humboldt County are choking Northern California with smoke.
Air quality alerts were issued today for Humboldt, Del Norte and Trinity Counties. The North Coast Air Quality District declared air unhealthy in Willow Creek, Orleans, Forks of Salmon and Burnt Ranch.
“People are recommended to restrict any outdoor activity,” the alert reads. It recommends contacting a health care provider for any of the following symptoms:
Last Saturday afternoon, up at her uncle's place in Kneeland, 8-year-old Marley Bones (pronounced "Bo-NEZ") was engaged in a favorite pastime -- trying to catch small wriggling wildlife -- when something caught her. It was brief -- a quick, sharp fang-jab on the knuckle of her right pointing finger.
"Marley's just an adventurer," said her mom, Colleen Bones, earlier today by phone. "She was lifting up all these rocks where all the lizards hide, and she was reaching for a blue-belly lizard when a snake she didn't know was there bit her."
It turned out to be a baby rattlesnake. They rushed her St. Joseph's Hospital where she was treated with anti-venom. Then the ordeal really began.
"All of a sudden her body came into a red rash, and she was having a hard time breathing," Colleen Bones said. "It was just so awful and it got so intense so fast. They realized she was allergic to the anti-venom."
Her bit hand started swelling up and her finger turned white. Colleen Bones said Marley was given something to counter the reaction. The hospital decided to fly her to U.C. Davis Children's Hospital.
A second person has now been hospitalized in Humboldt County with Hepatitis A from frozen berries sold at Costco. Anyone who has eaten Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend in the last two weeks is urged to get a Hepatitis A vaccination. The full press release from the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services is below:
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