Common sense appears lost in Beamer case
Our lead story this week, regarding Dr. Bud Beamer and his dismissal from Mountain View Hospital, is sure to upset a lot of community members.
And it was a story only half complete. Mountain View CEO Jeanie Gentry politely declined to discuss the Beamer situation with us, which is understandable, no surprise, legally wise and common action in such situations.
But, even with only half of it, it's an important story to tell. Dr. Beamer is part of a long history of beloved, community-minded doctors that have blessed Madras -- from homestead era Dr. Snook, to Dr. Thomas, to Dr. Kemper and others. What transpired in early August, and the aftermath, carries deep reverberations.
No one should disagree that there needs to be strict rules to forbid anyone in medical facilities, from surgeons to janitors, from removing drugs from hospitals for personal use. And those who break those rules need to be punished or prosecuted. But shouldn't the reaction be based on the severity of the situation?
In this case, some medication was taken, without secrecy, by the doctor to use on his 14-year-old lab, which was suffering from a huge tumor on her head. Still, Dr. Beamer shouldn't have taken the medication. He readily admits his mistake.
But the punishment -- immediate administrative leave, your medical credentials and career essentially revoked until the hospital board and the State Board of Medical Examiners rule, at a date undetermined -- seems severe.
Does common sense have a role in this situation? Does a doctor who takes a small amount of medication to treat his ailing dog, then brings it back unused, deserve the same punishment as, say, one caught taking a controlled substance for their own personal use?
Doesn't this particular case call for a wrist-slap, maybe a short leave without pay? The "on leave without pay" aspect of the punishment is understandable. The "never to return" aspect, though, would indicate there are other elements to the situation.
Again, hospital officials won't elaborate. Maybe there is a backstory that would paint a different picture. Dr. Beamer makes no bones about being critical of the hospital turning ownership over to St. Charles. Maybe he's viewed as insubordinate. Maybe he terrorized the halls of the hospital, or growled at nurses to the point of being a menace. Something.
To blow up a four-decade-long career just because he took some medication for his dog -- and after he brought it back unused -- makes no sense. On Labor Day weekend, my wife and I had to put down our 12-year-old lab, who was suffering from tumors that had swollen her belly to beachball size. Nearly all of us have been there, have we not?
From the outside looking in, without the benefit of the facility's side of the story, it seems as if the hospital wanted Beamer gone -- whether for political or personal reasons -- and that this situation made for an acceptable impetus.
Regardless of what happened and what may happen, Dr. Beamer will remain beloved here in his hometown. He and his wife, Beth Ann, are dedicated community members who have given in countless ways their time, skills, money, enthusiasm and dedication to the betterment of Madras and Jefferson County. As his 70th birthday approaches, it saddens so many of us to think Bud and his family have to endure this.