Grateful for Our Hospital

I would like to take a moment to recognize how grateful I am for the high quality staff we have at our local hospital. It is my privilege to have recently been appointed to the Board of Directors at Holy Cross Hospital, and my time as a medical professional in the community reinforces my belief that having great health care close to home is vital to the welfare of our community.

I want to recognize the incredible work of the staff at the hospital. Over the last few weeks I have been made aware of extraordinary acts of dedication and teamwork exhibited by our staff in response to recent incidents in the community. When you live in a rural community, the time it takes to get access to care can mean the difference between life and death. Travel the western United States and look at rural communities our size, you’ll very rarely find a hospital with the quality and array of services that Holy Cross provides. While the entire organization stepped up to provide care, I wanted to highlight the work of the Emergency department, the surgical team, and two of our surgeons. It’s comforting to know that we have an Emergency department here in Taos that is capable of stabilizing critical patients, and world-class surgeons providing care right here in our small community.

Dr. Michael Darnell is part of our Surgical Services team. After a recent incident, Dr. Darnell was called in to perform emergency life-saving surgery. I’m told he went above and beyond to provide great care. Dr. Darnell was unstoppable under the pressure and he provided surgical care from Noon until 2am. That’s fourteen hours of emergency surgery under great pressure. I wish to thank him personally for being there in a time of need.

The second person I would like to recognize is a new member of our surgical team, Dr. Stephen Slikkers. Dr. Slikkers moved to Taos last month and he was quickly tested by getting an emergency call for surgery within his first days here. Even in the midst of moving with his family to Taos, he immediately jumped in as part of the team. His choice to bring his skills to Taos is a tremendous asset to our community.

Both of these examples are a testament not only to the skills of our surgeons, but the quality and teamwork of the entire Emergency department, the surgical team, and entire staff at Holy Cross. No individual on the team works in isolation and it requires the incredible skills and hard work of everyone involved to provide comprehensive care.

There is a lot of competition when it comes to hiring qualified medical professionals. Pay for medical specialists is incredibly competitive across the country and there is a growing physician, nurse, and technician shortage in America. This makes it even more impressive that these highly qualified professionals choose to provide care in Taos, and even better, make it their home.

I have provided emergency medical care in Taos for over 40 years. When I and my fellow EMT providers send or bring patients to Holy Cross, we are grateful to have such a reliable health care option in our community. We rely on our hospital. I encourage everyone in our community to support and cherish the health care available to us from Holy Cross Hospital.

– Carl Gilmore, Lower Cordillera, Taos

Carl has provided emergency health care services in Taos County for over 40 years and now serves on the board of directors for Holy Cross Medical Center. He submitted this letter as a My Turn to the Taos News the week of thanksgiving, 2022.

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