Vail Daily letter: Frustrated with hospital |

Vail Daily letter: Frustrated with hospital

John Unland
Edwards, CO Colorado

Dear Ms. Kirchner and senior staff of Vail Valley Medical Center:

I am a stroke survivor, and my adorable wife, Linda, has been my caregiver at my side for over four and a half years. We live in Edwards, and our family has owned property in the valley since 1968.

In an effort to bring awareness to stroke and stroke prevention in the valley, with the help and kindness of Scott Miller of this paper,my wife, Linda, and I have initiated a stroke support group in the valley which now consists of approximately 12 to 15 people.

Linda and I are also in the midst of setting up setting up a nonprofit organization whose mission is around stroke prevention. That organization ( was launched last week on TV8 and at the Farmers Markets at Edwards and at Vail, where we solicited the interest of over 150 people to help us get the word out about stroke prevention. The majority of those interested are from the Vail Valley.

In an effort to launch this organization, I solicited several times your support and involvement in our launch, sending several emails and leaving several messages. My interest was to invite you to sit down with us at the launch of our program during our TV8 interview to explain to viewers the capability of the hospital should someone have a stroke.

After leaving messages and sending emails, I did not hear from you and was relegated to your COO, who then relegated our request to your director of marketing, who then indicated that prior to accepting our request to sit down with us during our TV8 interview that he would like to meet to “see who he was dealing with.” He was to call back to arrange such a meeting but did not.

Had he met with us, he would have seen a stroke survivor who has an MBA from the Wharton School of Business, who worked at the White House for two presidents and who has worked for 20 years in his own marketing strategy firm whose clients are almost exclusively Fortune 50 companies. He would have met a caregiver – my amazing wife, Linda – who holds a master’s degree in environmental education, and also served on the White House staff of Gerald Ford. But sadly, neither you nor anyone in your organization felt that stroke awareness and prevention merited your presence or involvement.

Consider the following:

• Stroke is the No. 3 killer in this nation.

• Every 40 seconds someone has a stroke in this country.

• Every four minutes someone dies of a stroke in this country.

I know that your hospital is renowned for your orthopedic expertise, but in doing my research on the above statistics related to the nation’s top killers, sprained thumbs and broken ankles did not appear in the top four.

I would suggest, on behalf of the residents of and visitors to this valley, that you and your staff consider being involved in some way in this critically important health issue. I would also suggest the following:

One, that you and your staff return your phone calls, and, two, answer your emails.

Having witnessed firsthand the culture of your institution in addressing my inquiries around this topic, there seems to be a correlation between the hospital’s continual groping for financial footing and for a proper marketing position relative to your competition.

You should also know that all members of our support group, including me, go to Glenwood, Denver, or elsewhere for diagnosis and continual treatment for stroke-related issues.

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