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Key medical staffer resigns from hospital

Says she is only the first to go


Last updated 2/27/2014 at 4:43pm

A health care provider of nearly 20 years at Coulee Medical Center is resigning from her full-time position, citing adverse health affects from working with what she calls an incompetent and hostile administration.

Dawn Lovelace, a nurse practitioner and nurse midwife who has delivered about half the babies at the hospital for two decades, tendered her letter of resignation Monday.

Her departure will increase the pressure on the two remaining doctors who deliver babies, Andrew Castrodale and Jacob Chaffee.

That responsibility and their resulting inability to travel more than 20 minutes from the hospital ranks high among their concerns in a dispute with hospital administration in which they have repeatedly said they would leave without a change in administration.

Lovelace, who recently earned a doctorate degree in nursing, stated that she has taken a faculty position with Frontier Nursing University. She said she would like to keep working at CMC one day a week.

“… I can no longer tolerate the ongoing stress of working with an incompetent, uncommunicative and increasingly hostile administration,” Lovelace wrote in her resignation letter. “The situation has been progressively worsening for the last two years, and I am now at the point where it is negatively affecting my health.”

Hospital commission chair Jerry Kennedy said he was saddened to get the news.

“She has been a key, integral member of our medical staff, trusted and respected,” he said. “She has been one of the people that have helped make this place what it is.”

Lovelace’s patients weren’t taking the news lightly Tuesday afternoon.

“I am heartbroken!” said Cathy Mueller Johnson, of Wilbur, one of several who commented on Facebook. “One of the reasons I continue to return to CCH, even after moving from the area, is due to the trust and confidence I have in Dawn. This will be a great loss to the community.”

“This is sad,” said Karie Kuehne Eagle. “She has delivered all 3 of my children. I started at women’s health in Spokane when I was pregnant with my first daughter and on high risk. I was unhappy with how we’d seen a different doctor every time up there. When I was 4 months along I transferred to Dawn after witnessing how attentive she was to a friend in labor. They are losing a very valuable person in my eyes. I am not happy the turn the hospital has taken lately.”

A call from The Star seeking comment from CEO Scott Graham was returned by Director of Communications and Marketing Steve Becker.

“She has done an outstanding job caring for the patients of this community, and we wish her the very best,” Becker said, adding that the hospital would be “delighted” if Lovelace could still fit one day a week at the hospital into her schedule.

Lovelace expressed “anger and hurt” in her letter, and said she was only the first of the longterm health care providers at CMC to go.

“We all have a great deal to lose, but we are quite firm in our commitment to leave if there is no administrative change,” she said. “I am only the first one to do so.”


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