The City that I Call Home

The City that I Call Home | Adventist Health Mendocino County
Story 45

This is a story of the beauty and immense importance of accessibility to holistic healthcare in rural communities on the Mendocino coast; and, our call to care for the well-being of our neighbors.

Mary Kate McKenna: So I can only explain what it's like here on the Mendocino Coast as a place to find respite, rejuvenation. If you come up highway 128 from the bay area, you'll pass through the big Redwoods. They're just lining your drive and they're just talking to you. They're telling you their stories and their history of how long they've been there and how they've steadfast while the world has changed, and it's almost as if you're in a different century with that. You run out of radio, you can't get radio there either or cell phone service, then you see this river and then there's this big curve and you're like, what's next? And you curve and there it is, the Pacific ocean

Judson Howe: Practicing medicine in this community is a little bit different than some of the other areas because we live in these smaller communities where the people that we serve today are the people we're going to see in town tomorrow, and so with that comes a very high level of authenticity and accountability to the way we treat our neighbors. So we're actually responsible for 30,000 lives in this county, and we're actually aligned around improving their health and reducing their utilization of our inpatient services. And I find that to be really beautiful because it's one of the things that keeps me up here because I want to work in a place where my interests are in their health, not in their utilization of our services.

Dr. William Miller: Adventist Health Mendocino Coast hospital. We're the only hospital on the coast between Crescent City, which is on the border of Oregon, and San Francisco. So all of the services that people get in this community, such as radiology, laboratory, inpatient services, emergency department, all of those would not be here. And if this hospital had closed, which it was at risk of doing, this would have meant more than just losing healthcare. The economy would have been undermined. We're very fortunate that we were able to affiliate with Adventist Health at this time. I think that that speaks to the mission of Adventist Health, which is to look out for the health of a community and not just provide healthcare.

Bernie Norvell: The importance of keeping a critical access hospital in a rural community like this where we're so isolated, really allows people to live here and enjoy the area and not worry about what happens if I get ill. For me, when Adventist decided to take a chance on the city of Fort Bragg, I feel like it saved us. I'm not exactly sure that we could have survived not having a critical care hospital here. So for me, I will forever be grateful that Adventist chose to basically jump on a sinking ship and ride that ship and take a chance on the city that I call home.