Dear Editor:

Yes, it’s true. I don’t like it, but I certainly understand it. Dr. Peter Marshall, chief medical director for our Pagosa Springs Medical Center, has decided to leave us — not because he is unhappy with us, in fact he expressed extreme sadness to be losing us as patients. However, physicians are people, too; they have family members to consider in decisions they make. Dr. Marshall and his wife have sacrificed a lot over the past few years — she is a nurse at Mercy Hospital and their home is in Durango. This meant that he has, with her blessing, commuted back and forth to meet our goals for quality health care in Pagosa.

A few years ago, upon recommendation of the health district board, voters approved the closing of the clinic to convert those tax-supported dollars to construction of a hospital. Sounded like a good idea, but my stated concerns at that time were that, “buildings do not provide health care, people do.” Soon after that beautiful building was open for business, it became very clear that without a primary care clinic to support it, the hospital would not make it financially. So, the clinic was re-opened and Dr. Marshall, whose reputation in the medical field was well-respected both in Denver and Durango, was recruited. His expertise, along with his ability to work with others, was vital to the successful recruitment of additional well-qualified staff to meet the health needs of Pagosans.

Because of his success, a professional opportunity at Mercy was presented to him that would provide a healthy lifestyle for him and his wife (no more commuting). After careful consideration, he decided to accept. Now, isn’t that what any of us would do? His legacy while here in Pagosa most surely will be the impact of his leadership and professional skills that have moved us to provide 21st century health care to our people. We will miss him terribly, but he has assured us that high quality health care has been well-established and will continue without him. We are blessed to have known him.

Patty Tillerson

This story was posted on November 14, 2013.