Dear Evergreen Friends,
Many of you may have seen or are aware of the recent letter published on behalf of DCIPA Board of Directors in The News Review regarding COVID vaccines and treatments. The letter was co-signed by a number of local medical providers and other interested parties. While I endorse many of the concepts promoted by that opinion piece, I did not add my name to those signing. I would like to share with you some excerpts from the letter that I submitted to the DCIPA chairman, whom I consider a friend, explaining my position and my support for the compassionate care that our clinic has offered. My purpose in doing so reflects my hope that we can find common ground as we treat our neighbors and friends during this ongoing battle with COVID. I wish to share my perspective and words of praise for our team in the excerpts that follow:
“It appears that our clinic’s response to the COVID pandemic has been both misunderstood and misrepresented locally. Our approach and understanding of this disease process has been refined over time and there is no question that the efforts of our providers and staff have saved many local lives. As you prepare to publish this letter, I want you to have some awareness of the impact our team has had on treating COVID locally.
“From the onset of the pandemic, we have screened all patients for acute illness prior to their arrival at our clinics. We have offered care for all acutely ill patients, including those unable to be seen by outside providers, solely in our urgent care, thus protecting our well patients from unintentional exposure in the clinics. We resumed full masking with the Governor’s mandate and have held to that policy. Sick and exposed employees have been appropriately quarantined or isolated as needed.
“To date in 2021, our clinic has administered over 12,000 COVID vaccines. As soon as the vaccines became available, we expanded our staff availability and manned several Saturday vaccine clinics. We represent the only team of nurses and providers who went to the area nursing facilities to administer vaccines with each new patient’s arrival. Similar care has been provided to the extended care facilities in our community. Vaccinations were taken to area schools when teachers were the priority for early dosing.
“This year, we have also provided over 10,000 COVID tests and treated over 2500 COVID patients, including the administration of 330 Regeneron treatments for patients seen in our urgent care. Regeneron was made available at our urgent care prior to its availability at any other facility in the county, thanks to the diligence of Dr. John Powell. Because of Dr. Powell’s foresight, countless hospitalizations have been avoided thanks to the early care provided by the urgent care staff. In August alone, our urgent care saw and treated more than 1000 COVID patients, significantly alleviating the overwhelming volume our local emergency department and hospital faced. Scores now testify to the benefits afforded by the care that they received at the Evergreen Urgent Care, including many who have received appropriately dosed ivermectin, which has been successfully added to treatment regimens around the world.
“These efforts have not been random nor ill-informed in their development. While we have been on the frontline with administration of the vaccines, we have also been on the frontline treating complications of those unlucky enough to have developed pericarditis, clotting complications and anaphylaxis due to those same vaccines. And, while many of us in this practice do not agree with vaccine mandates, we do agree that the vaccines have proven helpful in preventing severe disease, particularly in light of the recent surge with the delta variant spreading in our community. As with most things in medicine, one size or one treatment approach does not fit all. The risks and benefits of every decision we make in this business have to be weighed as we guide each individual. Our goal has been to protect the most vulnerable and to treat and comfort those who have suffered from the ravages of COVID’s effects. Those who have been in the heat of this battle should be applauded and not condemned. I am grateful to be a part of this team and stand with those making these difficult decisions.”
Truly I am proud of the impact we at Evergreen have had and continue to have in promoting the health of our community. While we each see the same picture through a different lens, those differing perspectives and talents allow us to offer complete and quality care for our friends and neighbors.
With heartfelt thanks for each of you and the work you do!
Shelley Brittain MD