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The people we serve – part 1

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This is the first of two posts featuring comments by people who have used our District’s services.

Spectrum of care

Hal Lepoff:  “I never expected to be diagnosed with an incurable cancer (Chronic lymphocytic leukemia or CLL).  It’s something that I can live with, but it does weaken my immune system.  Teaching in an elementary classroom is probably not the safest workplace for me but I have the medical back-up I need. I’ve had some serious infections, including about twelve bouts of pneumonia, and my first care when I get a fever is at our local Emergency Room in Garberville. Sometimes I’ve needed follow-up care at major hospitals. One time I was admitted to our local hospital to recover from pneumonia, and in 2017, I had a short stay at our skilled nursing facility after having surgery at UCSF for a brain infection.”

Hal feels that supporting our local hospital is important because it allows people with chronic conditions to continue to live here and be a part of this community.

Appreciation of local services

Aletta Sauer: “I am able to get my mammograms done here on VA Choice.”

The VA Choice program allows veterans to use their VA benefits to pay for services at their local healthcare facilities if they live more than 40 miles from the nearest VA clinic. For more information, go to the VA website at

Carol Aneesa Malouf: “My experience at Jerold Phelps Hospital was very positive. Everyone was helpful and pleasant. My home is now in Shelter Cove, and it means a lot to have a hospital in Garberville.”


Sita Formosa: “My dad Bob McKee had a very good experience at the clinic recently, and he really likes Dr. Rucker.”

John Boyd: “My experience at the SHCHD Clinic was great! Very thorough exam; attentive and courteous. I had no problem getting my appointment with the practitioner, and I would definitely go back!”

A traveler’s emergency

Patricia Coffia: “I am from Bakersfield and after working in McKinleyville was on my way [home] and had severe chest rib pain. I was taken into the ER right away. Everyone here from security to nurses to the doctor were so very nice and professional – by far the best hospital with the best staff I have ever encountered. The staff here could teach the hospitals in Bakersfield a thing or two on patient care and kindness. Thank you everyone at  Jerold Phelps Hospital for your kindness, understanding, and prompt attention. This staff warms my heart.”

Local folk’s emergencies

Michael Linde: “Today I brought my son here to address a dog bite on his face. The staff performed beyond my expectations; communication styles, body language, tone of voice and their professionalism were markedly fine. Treatment of the other patient, and of themselves, helped dramatically improve a stressful circumstance. Thank you.”

Ross Huber: “The Garberville Hospital treated a severe bmx-induced staph infection in my shin as a teenager. I may have lost my leg without their help.”

Ross feels that any community of our size is very lucky to have a hospital and should do all it can to support it.”

A place to call home

Manny Santiella,  92 years old, who has lived in our Skilled Nursing Facility for over three years, resided at three other nursing homes, two in Eureka and one in Fortuna, before a space became available for him here.

This Skilled Nursing Facility could be a model for the country, and it’s because of the caring, individualized, loving service.

Manny Santiella: “Most nursing homes are places where people go to die. This Skilled Nursing Facility could be a model for the country, and it’s because of the caring, individualized, loving service. Margo [our Dietary Manager] will go to the store and buy what you want. For the kitchen staff, it’s not just about loving cooking; it’s about loving helping us.”

When Manny broke his hip 3 years ago, he was immediately taken to the ER and then transferred to Willits for surgery. After complications during his recovery, Ther-A-Con physical therapy services, available at our facility, helped tremendously, and he now walks 1 to 2 miles per day.

For more information on all of SHCHD’s services or to schedule an appointment, call 923-3921.

Barbara Truitt, Former Foundation Director and Outreach Dept, Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District