More than an hour away from a commercial airport and 50 miles from a major city, little Detroit, Ore., with about 250 full-time residents, may seem an unlikely place for a medical convention.
However, on Jan. 21 and 22, several physicians from around the nation met in Detroit to talk healthcare with local residents and participate in the filming of a documentary.
Situated in the Cedars Restaurant Lounge, 11 physicians ate breakfasts of hotcakes, eggs, sausage and coffee with local residents in the shadow of chainsaws and other timber tools. They were invited to Detroit by Dr. Pamela Wible, a physician from Eugene with a vision to change how doctors and patients view medicine.
“I’ve tried so many of the options that are out there from hospital-owned clinics to migratory farm workers clinics, in community health, private physician owned and corporate owned medicine,” Wible said. “What I learned is that medicine as its practiced now is an assembly line… without a lot of thought to the root causes.”
During a town hall style meeting in the Detroit City Hall, city residents asked questions of the physicians who in turn asked questions of the residents. The meeting was filmed, part of the gathering of material to be used to encourage physicians to return to small town ideals and intimate patient care.
Full-time Detroit resident Stephen Galbraith was among those in attendance. He was one of the few who lived in town during the 1980s, the last time it had a clinic. He spoke to the doctors about his experiences under the glare of LED lamps and cameras.
“I remember a physician who would go out of his way to help somebody any time of the day,” he said. “I had a friend that managed to catch a fishing hook in his neck. He didn’t have to go into Salem and wait in a waiting room. He went to the doctor who removed the hook and it cost maybe $40. That’s what we need in this town.”
Before she started her clinic, Wible interviewed more than 100 potential patients to learn what they wanted in care.
“Sixty percent of doctors want to quit because they don’t enjoy what they do,” she said. “On average, one doctor a day commits suicide. I want to show them they can get back to the basics, to provide medicine the way Marcus Welby, M.D. used to do on the television show. What better place is there than Detroit and Breitenbush film a documentary like this?”
Filming started in October and will continue through spring. A release date has not yet been set. For information visit www.idealmedicalcare.org.