Readers’ Voice

Dear Editor:
   The Paw Paw Volunteer Fire Department recently formed an honor guard to honor fallen firefighters and to participate in community events. The Paw Paw Fire Department Honor Guard held a training on February 23-25, 2018, at the Freshwater Community Church in Paw Paw. The membership of the Paw Paw Fire Department wanted to express their sincere thanks to the Freshwater Church, Paw Paw American Legion & VFW, Adams Funeral Home, and the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard.
   We are proud to serve the Paw Paw Community and we are truly blessed to have such fine organizations who support us. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Sincerely,
Paw Paw Volunteer
Fire Department

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To the Editor:
   Eleanor’s Pantry continues to provide for our food insecure families, thanks to the generosity of our community. We send a big thank you to Courtney Gettig, owner of The Shop, for her Love Our Community event that benefitted the pantry.
   Throughout Valentine Week, many friends in the community brought bags of over-the-counter medicines, as suggested by Courtney’s promotions. On Saturday, the final day, large numbers of people attended to enjoy the Van Buren Coffee and cookies and the many vendors who brought marvelous merchandise for purchase. Fourteen huge plastic totes of a wide variety of over-the-counter medicines were collected!! 
   Never before has the pantry had this quantity or selection of items. Many visitors/shoppers also made monetary contributions to the pantry as well. We so appreciate everyone’s contributions to this remarkable event.
   Monthly, Elizabeth VanDenBos continues her generous project to make and donate “Birthday in a Bag” for the pantry. It contains everything needed for a birthday party:  cake mix with pan, frosting, plates, napkins, cups, and more. This is a favorite gift at the pantry. Thank you, Bizzy!
   Please continue to collect Family Fare receipts for us.  Through Spartan Nash Direct Your Dollars program, we are working towards earning another $1,000!
   Please know that the contributions given by each of you makes a huge difference in the lives of our friends in need.  Without you, Eleanor’s Pantry wouldn’t exist.
Thank you,
Nellie DeLong
Community Outreach Coordinator

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Dear editor:
   “DO NO HARM” begins the oath of a pharmacist.
   On Tuesday, March 13 at 7 p.m., Lawton Hometown Pharmacy permanently closed its doors without much, if any prior notification to the public, the community, their loyal patients, or even their staff. Thankfully, the information leaked from within and through social media, many patients were informed the morning of the closing day. Many of these individuals were able to have their prescriptions transferred elsewhere, but by mid-business on Tuesday, Lawton Hometown Pharmacy refused to transfer any more prescriptions and directed patients to Walgreens where the remainder of prescription files were to be transferred overnight.
   The specifics of this scenario warrant discussion into just how “harmful” this behavior is to a community of individuals who should’ve been sacred to and valued by the pharmacy. And how harmful this behavior is to a profession that much of the public relates more closely to the fast-food industry than the essential, valuable, and trusted branch of healthcare that it is.
   The first source of harm relates to medication inventory. Oftentimes medications need to be special-ordered to remain in stock for specific patients. Examples include medications that are rare, require special training and/or credentialing to obtain, or otherwise need to be special-ordered. Many patients will find themselves in a situation where medications are needed and the new pharmacy at best obtains them with delays and at worst, is unable to obtain them at all. Because patients weren’t notified in advance of the closing and able to do their due-diligence, some patients will - not might - but will go without their medications.
   The second source of harm relates to insurance coverage and patients’ ability to pay. Some patients will find that their insurance is not contracted with the pharmacy that now holds their prescriptions. Without advance notice that allowed thoughtful consideration to individual insurance coverages and the ability to establish new contracts, some patients will - not might - but will have at best inconveniences in receiving their medications and at worst, delays in obtaining their medications.
   The third and possibly most concerning source of harm is the diminished access to care. Today, the morning following the close of business, the Lawton Hometown Pharmacy phone rings endlessly with no voicemail to inform patients of their closing, nor to direct patients on how and where to obtain their medications. How do the uninformed elderly, home-bound, medically-fragile, non-Facebook using patients handle this situation? Can you envision them sitting at home so very confused and concerned right now? I can. Did they not have a right to this information? Did these people receive a postcard telling them how to transfer their prescriptions, where they could transfer their prescriptions, and that their doctor had been notified? These poor people are at home right now and are clueless. And so are the medical practices that sent patients to that pharmacy every day. As a community, how do we reach them to offer help?  Our ability is now limited because of the lack of communication and notice on behalf of Hometown Pharmacy. We could’ve stepped up to help our community where they were unwilling. Without a doubt, members of our community will - not might - but will be harmed by this.
   Lawton Hometown Pharmacy caused much harm when they put greed above patient care, when they put power over their commitment to their patients and staff, and when they closed without notice to avoid extra work, loss of business, and accountability. That is the worst way I can think of to show just how little the owners cared for their patients. (Note: this does not relate to the local staff who only found out the day of closing, but is directed to the owners and administration solely responsible for this decision.) What Hometown Pharmacy did was unconscionable in the healthcare field and completely unethical and quite frankly, embarrassing.
   The owners and administration of Hometown Pharmacy have done harm and an abandoned building is not the only wreckage left behind in Lawton. Hometown Pharmacy has harmed their staff and their employment status. Hometown Pharmacy has harmed their own reputation. Hometown Pharmacy has harmed the trusted profession of pharmacy. And Hometown Pharmacy harmed and abandoned their patients. I hope patients near to other Hometown Pharmacy locations will turn their backs and abandon them like they did to us.
   Please rest-assured knowing that there are plenty of us out there who really are passionate about this field and who really do care about our patients. Fortunately, there are some fantastic local pharmacists in our small geographical area. I hope that together we can restore your faith in our profession and offer healthcare above and beyond what you expect.
   Signed a concerned but hopeful mom, patient, rare disease advocate, pharmacist, and Lawton resident,
Juliann Bradish, PharmD

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Dear Paw Paw residents,
   Do you have a red heart on your driver’s license or state ID? April is National Donate Life month.
   My husband’s life was saved when he received a lung from an organ donor. Rex never smoked but was dying from Pulmonary Fibrosis. He is now a living, breathing miracle because someone made the decision to be a donor.
   Register now to be an organ and tissue donor. You could save up to eight lives. You can go to www.GiftofLifeMichigan.org and click on the ‘Sign Up Now’ button. You can also do it on your next visit to the Michigan Secretary of State.
   In Michigan, as of March 1, 2018, there were 3,229 people waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. You are not too old to donate. Previous medical issues may not be an issue. Talk to your family about your decision. Be a hero and register now as an organ and tissue donor.
Thanks you,
Carol R. Grant
Decatur

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The Courier-Leader & Paw Paw Flashes

The Courier-Leader & Paw Paw Flashes
32280 E. Red Arrow Hwy. • P.O. Box 129
Paw Paw, MI 49079
(269) 657-5080

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