Bryson City Seasons — Staph and Staff (Part 1)

This is from the twenty-ninth chapter from my best-selling book, Bryson City Seasons, which is the sequel to Bryson City TalesI hope that you’ll enjoy going back to Bryson City with me each week and that if you do, you’ll be sure to invite your friends and family to join us.


The mandatory meeting was called by the hospital’s administrator, Earl Douthit. All hospital employees and physicians were to attend. Ray and Mitch hadn’t let on that they knew about the meeting—and when we asked them, they wouldn’t tell us its purpose. We only heard about the meeting at lunchtime the day of the meeting. Reva brought a note to us with the announcement.

“You know anything about this, Walt?” Rick asked, showing me the announcement.

“I don’t.”

“Do you think they’re going to take some action against us?” I shrugged my shoulders. I just didn’t know.


We joined the crowd in the hospital cafeteria at 6:00 p.m. It was the only room in the hospital large enough to hold everyone. Rick and I sat near the back, next to Dr. Bacon. I could see the other doctors seated near the front of the room. There were also several members of the hospital board and of the local health department in the room. To my surprise, there was a reporter from the local paper—The Smoky Mountain Times.

“Rick, what’s a reporter doing here?”

“Beats me.”

Dr. Bacon bent toward me. “Walt,” he asked, “do you know what’s going on?”

I wasn’t sure if he was pulling my leg or trying to appear innocent. “You don’t know?” I asked. I’m sure I must have sounded incredulous. If the dean of the medical community didn’t know, then I was concerned. “Harold, I don’t have a clue. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it has something to do with those infected babies.”

At just that moment, Earl Douthit, the hospital administrator, entered the room with the chairman of the board of the hospital and a man I didn’t recognize. A hush blanketed the room as the three men sat in chairs arranged at the front of the room. They briefly whispered to each other, and then Earl stood.

“I appreciate you all coming on such a short notice. For hospital employees, be sure you indicate this time on your time card. You will be paid for this time.”

He cleared his throat and then continued. “You all may be aware that our newborn nursery has had a flurry of cases involving a very serious bacterial infection—a staphylococcal infection.”

Earl looked down at the stranger, who nodded, and then returned his attention to us.

“There have been allegations—both from sources internal and external to the hospital—that this infection has come from improper policy or procedure. There have been allegations that our facility is substandard in some sort of way. Unfortunately, even some hospitals in our region have made these regrettable comments to the state.”

A murmur crossed the room. Earl was quiet long enough to let it pass.

“There have also been allegations—mostly from local sources— that one or more of our physicians have not or do not practice according to the modern medical standards of care.”

I could feel the color burning my cheeks—and my blush must have been made worse by sensing that some who were sitting around us were turning to look at Rick and me.

“These allegations are serious, and because of them, and with the concurrence of the chairman of the board of trustees and the chairman of the medical staff, I asked the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to initiate an independent investigation of these matters and report to our board their findings and recommendations. Our board has heard their report and has called you here tonight so that you can hear the report and the actions we will be taking.”

Rick leaned over to me and whispered, “You think this is a public lynching?”

I was too bewildered to answer.


  1. The Murder (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  2. The Arrival (Part 1)(Part 2)
  3. The Hemlock Inn (Part 1)(Part 2)
  4. The Grand Tour (Part 1)(Part 2)
  5. The Interview (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  6. Settling In (Part 1)(Part 2)
  7. First-Day Jitters (Part 1)(Part 2)
  8. Emergency (Part 1)(Part 2)
  9. The Delivery (Part 1)(Part 2)
  10. The “Expert” (Part 1)(Part 2)
  11. The Trial (Part 1)(Part 2)
  12. Shiitake Sam (Part 1)(Part 2)
  13. Wet Behind the Ears (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  14. Lessons in Daily Practice (Part 1) — Anal Angina(Part 2)(Part 3)(Part 4)
  15. White Lies
  16. The Epiphany (Part 1)(Part 2)
  17. Becoming Part of the Team (Part 1)(Part 2)
  18. Monuments (Part 1)(Part 2)
  19. My First Home Victory (Part 1)(Part 2)
  20. Fisher of Men (Part 1)(Part 2)
  21. Fly-Fishing (Part 1); (Part 2)
  22. Something Fishy (Part 1)(Part 2)
  23. A Good Day at the Office
  24. An Evening to Remember
  25. Another New Doc Comes to Town
  26. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (Part 1)(Part 2)
  27. A Surprising Gift
  28. The New Year (Part 1)(Part 2)
  29. The Home Birth (Part1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  30. The Showdown (Part1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  31. The Initiation (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  32. Home at Last (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2017. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.

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