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ER Surgeon Shortage At TGH

Tuolumne General Hospital´s emergency room is experiencing a temporary shortage of general surgeons on the health care facility´s call list.

The county-run hospital´s ER Nurse Manager Nancy Kirk says vacation by staff surgeon Dr. Gideon Naude, and time constraints on the remaining surgeons, has created the shortage in the ER. Hospital administration knew of the holes and a contingency plan is in place.

“With an agreement with Sonora Community Hospital, ambulance patients, traumas and abdominal pains that could or possibly require general surgery will be transferred to Sonora Community,” Kirk says. “We can see all other patients.”

The problem isn´t unique to the Sonora heath care facility, but a nationwide problem.

“This is going on throughout the state of California and the nation,” Kirk says. “We´re experiencing a lack of physicians on all our call schedules.”

All other areas of the hospital are operating normally. “We´re here and we´re still seeing patients and giving the same quality care we´ve always given,” Kirk says.

“Just at this time, if somebody gets hurt and is brought in by ambulance, it might be more beneficial if they have abdominal pain, to go across town (to Sonora Community Hospital),” she says.

TGH administration has placed this issue as a top priority, Kirk says, and are working to find another surgeon to fill in the holes. Dr. Naude returns to work from South Africa August 29, Kirk says.