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For Public Release
Date: April 20, 2006
To: Friends and Colleagues at GSH and the Regional Mental Health Unit
From: Nurse Ed Glick
Re: Goodbye and Best Wishes / Medical Marijuana Issues
1. This is, possibly, my last written comment as a staff nurse working at the REGIONAL MENTAL HEALTH UNIT. (I have written many over the years!) There is rarely any closure when staff leave this place, and I wish to thank you all for the many years of caring for really sick patients together. Caring is what we are here to do. We, MHA’s, nurses and doctors are the beating heart of the Unit.
I am gratified and warmed by the relationships I have had with everyone, all over Good Samaritan Hospital-through the nearly 15 years I have worked with many of you. Especially, I want to thank everyone on night shift and in the Emergency Department, for so much communication and commitment to patient safety. I have always felt safe working with you.
I have been “terminated”. The managers most distant from the reality of our patients, and the job we do, created a pretext- documentation lapses and interpersonal conflicts- to request me to submit to a drug test. I refused their “request” as lacking in reasonable cause. Strangely, the REGIONAL MENTAL HEALTH UNIT managers have begun purging the most experienced staff.
This is an ominous trend. Documentary, non-patient-care omissions are being used as a vehicle to rid the unit of undesirables. Instead of supporting patient care by increasing staffing as promised, managers pour over charts, creating reams of documentation. Paperwork consumes nurses’ time. Patient care is a side-issue. With this type of authoritarian, punitive managerial structure, morale on the unit is understandably low.
As those of you who worked the week of April 9, 2006 remember, Level One was especially unstable, with multiple psychotic patients displaying aggression, and violent paranoid ideation towards staff and other patients. I prioritized the multiple admissions and patient crises, as deserving more attention than paperwork. I stand by my decision to do so.
“Documentation” may have been the pretext for my carefully planned and orchestrated disciplinary “lynching”, but it was also about my continuing outspoken criticism of Samaritan Health Services. I have often made public comments over the years critical of Samaritan Health Services’ refusal to support and assist cannabis patients who use our health system. Cannabis patients are “untouchables” in our medical establishment.
It is frankly negligent that our regional health system including virtually every physician in it, ignore the safest medication many of their patient’s relate as the most beneficial. There is little physician conversation and less documentation about a significant medication that many patients are using every day. SHS publicly promotes “patients first”--but in the case of hundreds of patients-privately they turn their back.
Samaritan Health cannabis patients make their way to the Compassion Center in Eugene, where have volunteered my time for years. They come in search of doctors and nurses who will listen to them. Samaritan Health Services is tired of hearing me repeat this message. That’s the real reason I was “terminated”.
I welcome expressions of support as I begin the grievance process contesting my sacking.
2. I am in negotiation with the Oregon Department of Human Services to reconvene the “Debilitating Medical Conditions Advisory Panel”. We met in 2000 to consider adding psychiatric conditions to the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act as “covered conditions”. (Agitation related to Alzheimer’s disease was ultimately added.)
There will likely be a new advisory panel of experts, to evaluate new evidence, since 2000. If any of you, especially psychiatrists and nurses, have significant knowledge or insight into the use of cannabis for amelioration of depression, PTSD, agitation or insomnia, I welcome your input. Thank- you again, my friends, for many years of great patient care and best wishes to you all. I encourage you all to stand up for patient care before paperwork. I also hope the heating, venting and water crossover problems at the Unit are soon resolved!
Blessings to you all,
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