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In case you've been under the Arctic ice, Valley hospital ERs are getting hammered by flu, aches and all manner of suffering patients.
And nobody is under the hammer more than -- surprise! -- one of the nation's busiest emergency rooms and the only combined burn and Level 1 trauma units between LA and Sacramento.
If you read the front-page story in today's Fresno Bee, you read three very telling quotes from Bruce Kinder, CRMC's ED director.
1) "We're seeing more of everything." 2) "It's a taxing time." 3) "Every day is an adventure."
You never know who's coming in the door. At CRMC, a foggy pileup on Highway 99 may mean there's 15 or so doctors and medical staff waiting for a helicopter to deliver a traumatized patient. It may mean an emergency baby delivery -- we have delivered as many as 1,000 planned or otherwise children in one month. Throbbing heads, heaving tummies, blistering fevers. Only a master of understatement could condense the hubub into the three quotes above.
Kinder, whose furrowed brow can sometimes resemble that of a shar pei, and the talented staff of pros in the ED and hospital, deploy a strategy that Kinder has described over the years as "Billy ball."
Kinder is an RN and also a BFD fan of the Oakland Athletics whose general manager, Billy Beane, knows that the system -- baseball or in Kinder's case, health care in the nonprofit world -- isn't arranged in a logical or fair measure. The Yankees and Dodgers can afford to buy a planet or two of superstars. The Athletics are a scrappy bunch of frequently no-name players who work their tails off for the good of the team against incredible odds.
So, hats off to the weary medical professionals at Clovis Community, in Visalia and especially at Fresno's "Oakland A's.". And, hey, Bruce. This Yankees fan will eventually join in to watch your other team in Oakland this year, and the Hefeweizens are on me.