After years of being an internationally-renowned place for sex reassignment surgery for forty years, Trinidad, Colorado no longer has a doc in town to do the work. The Denver Post reports that Dr. Marci Bowers, herself a transgender surgery patient at one time, has moved to San Francisco because of what sounds like an extremely stupid business decision on the part of the local hospital:
Her work has been recorded in documentaries, magazine articles, TV shows — attention she has welcomed, even courted.
Mt. San Rafael Hospital, not so much.
Bowers views the publicity as part of her work.
“It’s important. It educates people,” Bowers said.
The hospital viewed it as an intrusion, an inconvenience and a royal pain. Crews dragging cameras, wires and microphones through the 24-bed hospital disrupt patient care and cost money, said chief executive Jim Robertson.
That prompted an unusual policy. Media must get hospital permission 60 days in advance before visiting and pay for access.
It was that policy, Bowers said, that drove her away.
“In September, I finally said, ‘Look, if I’m going to stay here, we’ve got to address this media policy,’ ” she said.
The hospital and its board weren’t about to do that.
“There are many residents of Trinidad who would like to have the city known for something other than gender-reassignment surgery,” said board member Dr. Jim Colt.
Uh, right: let me guess. I’m certainly no businesswoman, but does anyone really think that the one gynecologist the hospital has hired to replace Bowers and the new ”cardiac diagnostic tests” are really going to bring patients from around the world to Mt. San Rafael Hospital? Bowers put 100 patients a year in that hospital, patients who needed extensive pre-op counseling and post-op care, prescriptions, meals, nights at local inns, and the like along with accommodations for their partners, friends, or family members. What an awesomebusiness decision for a small town in the midst of the Great Recession! (Don’t miss Bowers’s claim in the Denver Post story that she was driven out of town because the local yokels think they’re going to make a go of selling their luxury golf course to hoards of tourists! As Ed Grimley would say, “Gimme a break!”)
Hospitals are a little nuts these days about how the changes in health care funding are going to affect them. There’s a lot of (in my opinion) stupid, petty empire building going on among the hospitals in my area these days. But, is there anything dumber than driving out of town the one physician who provides the one rather highly-specialized service for which your community of 10,000 people is well-known?
Before she hightailed it out of this state, I saw a lecture Bowers gave at Moo Moo U. here in Potterville last spring. She’s quite a show-woman and every inch the competitive surgeon she has been for all of her professional life. She even showed explicit slides of her work–and I have to say that I was incredibly impressed with both her M to F and her F to M work. Amazing. How sad for Trinidad that she couldn’t stay.