KEYS NEWS

Paramedic may serve as interim trauma district director

BY STEVE GIBBS

keysnews.com

TAVERNIER -- The Upper Keys Health Care Taxing District -- better known as the trauma district -- is poised to ask a local paramedic to take the job vacated by the county's dismissal of the former trauma director.

But the top administrative job description may be changed before she accepts. Brenda Beckman, EMT, paramedic and registered nurse, has worked with the Key Largo Ambulance Corps since 1990 and was an applicant for the trauma director position when Dr. Abdul Raman Al-Naimi was selected.

Al-Naimi was recently fired by County Administrator Jim Roberts after a stormy nine-month tenure. The trauma director was often at odds with the district's advisory board.

Beckman was the board's choice to serve as interim director, pending approval by Roberts.

It was decided that the board would meet again July 9 to further discuss hiring Beckman as interim director.

A phone call to Beckman confirmed that she would take the interim job.

During last week's meeting at Mariners Hospital, the trauma board solved a problem raised by the county attorneys who are focused on preventing situations where litigation against the county could emerge.

John Wolfe, the assistant county attorney, recently had expressed concern that having the trauma director respond to the Mariners emergency room could present a legal liability.

Meeting with Dr. David Shatz of Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center and Jackson Memorial attorney David Freedman, the board agreed to revamp the job description of the trauma director.

The trauma board set the wheels in motion to do just that with County Fire Chief Clark Martin sitting in on the meeting.

"There is no requirement that the trauma director respond to Mariners," he said. "That was apparently something Dr. Al-Naimi took upon himself.

Yvonne Harper, who attended the meeting with Shatz, said, "They want a more detailed job description and more refined procedures."

Several revised titles for the director were discussed, including director of trauma emergency, trauma care coordinator and trauma district coordinator.

Martin reminded the board members that if they "monkey with the title" they might lose the opportunity to choose an interim director from the applications received last August when the county and the board were in the process of selecting a director.

The possibility that a countywide district would be established caused the board to ask whether a director was necessary at all.

"We need somebody at the helm," board chairwoman Dr. Joann Mahoney said. "Change the job description. We need to decide today."

Mariners Hospital CEO Bob Luse -- who also serves as a member of the trauma board -- concluded that the consensus was to determine whether the job would be full-time or part-time, modify the trauma director's job description and select an interim director.

Martin placed a call to Roberts who assured the board that individual applicants from last summer could be revisited and one of them could be asked to serve as interim director.

There was no indication one way or the other that Roberts had a preference as to who that person might be.


This story published on Fri, Jun 20, 2003