Degrees of Remoteness

The catastrophic fires raging in the counties south of us have made me think of our ER and all our healthcare services in a new light, especially as those fires caused Highway 101 closures reminiscent of last winter’s closures near Garberville, which included not just 101 north and south, but also Highway 1, Bell Springs and other roads, cutting off ready road access to the west and east of us at the same time that air travel from our locale was also impossible due to weather. 

At times like these, all of our services are not just convenient but actually critical to the well-being of our most vulnerable populations – our elderly, our children, and all our neighbors with chronic health conditions -- along with anyone needing emergency care.

One such member of our community is Sue Quast. If you come into the Healthcare District through the Emergency Department door on a Thursday morning, maybe for a blood test or an X-ray, chances are you’ll encounter Sue and her husband Jim Quast.

Sue first became involved with the Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District after Jim was hired as Principal of South Fork High School in 1989. Once their family was settled here, Sue served as our District’s radiology and mammography technician for a number of years in the early 1990s. If she provided these services to you back then, you may remember her engaging smile and quick wit.

Sue’s involvement with the District took a very different turn when she suffered a devastating stroke in 2001. She was quickly brought to our ER where she was stabilized and ultimately transferred to St. Joseph’s Hospital for emergency surgery that saved her life.

Though Sue retains her smile and her sense of humor, she has endured many additional physical maladies since her stroke and has been brought to Jerold Phelps Hospital’s Emergency Room over a dozen times, for problems ranging from a heart attack to a broken hip, as well as number of seizures and a blood clot on her lung. Some of these incidents have required stabilization and transfer to Redwood Memorial or St. Joseph’s, but many have been resolved right here, sometimes quickly and other times following observation and/or treatment in our hospital’s acute care department.

Through the years, Sue has also relied on other services provided at our District, including regular Southern Humboldt Community Clinic visits and her weekly Thursday morning appointment for physical therapy provided by Ther-A-Con.  

According to Jim, “We have always been treated well here, from the front desk to the nurses and doctors. Without the Emergency Room and the other services our Healthcare District provides, it would be very difficult for us to live here.”

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Written by Barb Truitt, Foundation Director, SHCHD.