Saturday, May 29, 2004

What's with CHOMP?

Two items have come to my attention that have called into question the reputation of the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula (CHOMP), the only hospital on the Monterey Peninsula.

The first was a news item earlier this week about the helicopter ambulance service called CALSTAR. Evidently Calstar was working with local police and fire departments to practice landings around the Monterey Peninsula, doing several drills in the coming days.

This piqued my interest because I was listening to the police scanner recently and heard that a CALSTAR helicopter needed to land on the football field at Monterey Peninsula College to handle a trauma patient involved in an accident on Highway 1. I found this odd because CHOMP is barely a mile up the highway from the accident scene. In fact the football field was probably no closer. Why did they need the helicopter?

The news story about the CALSTAR training gave the answer. CHOMP is no longer accepting trauma patients. They now have to be flown to the San Jose area. However, the article concluded that CHOMP would continue to handle trauma cases "in an emergency." (I guess that means not all trauma cases are emergencies. Down the rabbit hole we go!)

The second item that caused me concern involved a co-worker who's wife is expecting twins. He didn't make it to work today because she may have gone into labor six weeks early. If that was the case, they would have to go all the way to San Francisco to deliver. San Francisco??? That's almost three hours away for crine out loud. Why put them through that at a time like this?

So what gives? CHOMP has been expanding like mad the last several years. In their advertising they repeatedly boast about their state of the art facilities. So exactly what are they doing with all that extra space and high tech stuff that they can't handle basic emergencies like premature births and accident victims anymore?

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