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San Joaquin Hospital forced to turn away trauma patients due to EMS noncompliance

Trauma patients normally taken to San Joaquin General Hospital in French Camp, Calif., will now be redirected to either Sacramento or Modesto for trauma care, according to The Record.

On Sept. 9, the 196-bed community hospital was notified that its designation as a Level III trauma center was in jeopardy due to its noncompliance with staffing and management requirements established by state and federal law and the American College of Surgeons.

According to The Record, Dan Burch, San Joaquin County's emergency medical services administrator, said, "On Friday, we were notified by the hospital that they could not provide a guaranteed call panel starting Friday evening. Based on that notification, we took action to direct all major trauma patients to Kaiser South Sacramento and Stanislaus County."

The Modesto (Stanislaus County) trauma centers set to absorb the extra trauma patients are Doctors Medical Center and Memorial Medical Center.

The announcement from the County's EMS administrator was followed by a "vote of no trust" letter signed by 12 physician leaders at the hospital regarding Larry Gentilello, MD, the hospital's trauma medical director. The letter was delivered to San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors.

Physicians stated in the letter they would no longer work in the trauma center effective Oct. 15 under Dr. Gentilello's management. Dr. Gentilello subsequently resigned Friday.

According to The Record, Dr. Gentilello was certified by the American Board of Surgery while at the hospital, but was listed as "clinically inactive." Dr. Gentilello voluntarily selected this designation four years prior when he was not managing patients or surgery residents, which he did during his seven months at San Joaquin General Hospital.

The longtime director of the hospital's surgical residency program, Ahmed Mahmoud, MD, who, according to The Record, participates in 600 operations annually, also resigned on Friday.

"Two physicians left us last Friday — Dr. Gentilello and Dr. Mahmoud. I have no further comment on that since it's a personnel matter," hospital CEO David Culberson said Monday, according to The Record. "Both of those two are not here at San Joaquin General Hospital anymore."

The hospital is reportedly working with EMS to come into full compliance with mandates.

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