Happening at Forks Community Hospital

  • We are prepared for the Coronavirus at Forks Community Hospital and in Washington State. If you have any respiratory complaints, please wear a mask over your mouth and nose until you have been evaluat...

  • Forks Family Medical Clinic is open and accepting new patients. Call today to establish care with one of our three providers. Forks Family Medial Clinic is in the old Harrison building on G Street. Fo...

  • Dr. Osland has come to Forks Community Hospital and Boagchiel Clinic as the new orthopedist, orthopedic surgeon, and sport medicine physician.  He is certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Sur...

  • As winter has arrived, now is the time to put practical safety tips into practice. Tim Wade; Ambulance Supervisor and REMVAC LIAISON at Forks Community Hospital has composed tips for walking in icy si...

  • Forks Hospital Foundation has a few gifts pink breast cancer tumblers left in stock. These will make a great Valentines gift while supporting a very worthy cause. Forks Hospital Foundation works to support programs and the current equipment needs at Forks Community Hospital. Join in......

  • The Certified Nursing Assistant Class is now accepting applications. This course is a first step in starting an exciting career in healthcare. The course cost is $300 and reimbursement opportunities are available. Applications must be turned in no later than Monday, January 27th. The course......

  • An instructor will guide you through the topics on pregnancy, childbirth, the newborn, and address your individual questions and concerns. Click the image for full details. To register: Call: (360) 327-8436 Email: cassieh@forkshospital.org Go to the Forks Community Hospital Admitting Desk        ......

  • The American College of Radiology recommends annual screening mammography for women starting at age 40. This provides the maximum benefits of reduced breast cancer mortality, less extensive treatments for cancers that are found, decreased chance of advanced disease at diagnosis, and discovery and treatment of......

  • In my practice I diagnose at least 4-5 women with cervical cancer every year.  This year in the United States, over 13,000 women will be diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV).  HPV is quite common, in fact, is estimated......

  • Energy Drinks – Common Questions and Information Myth: Energy drinks are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) so they must be safe. The makers of energy drinks market them as dietary supplements, allowing them to side step the U.S. Food and Drug......

  • The stigma attached to people with addictions is often harmful or false and it interferes with efforts to find relief from the very real damage that addictions cause to individuals, their families, and their communities. No one is immune as addictions impact people from all......

  • Influenza, the flu, is one of 25 diseases that can be prevented by a vaccine. Too many people died from influenza last year in Washington State, a total of 241.  That number includes two children.  It is too late to help them but do you......

Do you have a question you would like answered by an expert from Forks Community Hospital? Please submit your questions to information@forkshospital.org and we will do our best to answer them here and in the Forks Forum.

Click on a question below to view the answer:

“What is Coronavirus?"

What is Coronavirus?

What is Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some cause respiratory illness in people, and others circulate among animals such as camels, cats, and bats. There are seven different coronaviruses that are known to infect humans. Most coronaviruses cause mild illness – an upper respiratory tract infection that looks a lot like the ‘common cold.’ People can also get a runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, fever, or just do not feel well. Occasionally certain human coronaviruses can cause pneumonia or bronchitis, a more serious respiratory illness. People with weakened immune systems, infants, and older adults are more at risk of infection and can have a more severe case of illness. SARS is a coronavirus you may have heard of that originated in animals and then moved to infect humans. MERS was another coronavirus that has been in the news. Recently Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has been showing up in Wahun, China, causing pneumonia and some deaths.

How is it transmitted?

The theory is that 2019 – nCoV is spread by respiratory droplets similar to the way influenza is spread. It is unclear, yet, how this new Coronavirus has spread to people. Typically, Coronaviruses can be spread through the air; by coughing and sneezing, through close personal contact like touching or shaking hands; touching an object that has the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands; and, very rarely, through fecal contamination.

How is this different than influenza or SARS?

New (or novel) viruses appear through mutation. The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other agencies watch and test to evaluate whether a new mutation or Coronavirus has been discovered and whether it can affect humans. The CDC currently feels that 2019-nCoV will not cause severe illness in America. However, those who are immunocompromised, the very young, and the very old are always at an increased risk. The CDC will continue to provide updates, and they are working closely with health authorities here in Washington to evaluate this first case.

What can I do to protect myself and my family?

WASH YOUR HANDS!! Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid close contact (within 6 feet for a prolonged period) and direct contact (shaking hands, touching, etc.) with others who are sick. If you are sick, stay home and do not go back until you are well. Wash hands frequently with soap and warm water for 20 seconds or more. Cough or sneeze into a tissue, or, if one is not available, cough or sneeze into your sleeve or elbow, NOT into your palm. Take care of yourself. Drink plenty of fluids, rest. Treat fever and headache with over-the-counter medications (remember not to give aspirin to children), and see your healthcare provider if you are concerned about your symptoms.


Information from cdc.gov/coronavirus/about/index.html Accessed 1/21/2020


Deborah Dillon, RN, Director of Quality and Patient Safety

Forks Community Hospital

Disclaimer: This Column is not intended as a diagnosis or recommended treatment of a specific condition. Answers are not a replacement for an individual medical evaluation. Individual health concerns should be evaluated by a licensed clinician.

“What are the three steps of early detection?"

What are the three steps of early detection?

“The 3 Steps of Early Detection” were established to allow patients to take an active role in their care and are advocated for by various cancer and illness societies across the nation. Early detection of medical issues often allows for greater treatment options, higher survival rates, and better quality of life.

Step One- Remember What Great Feels Like

Pay attention to how your body feels when you are healthy and well rested. Knowing what “Great” feels like will help you take notice of little changes to your overall health. Sometimes these small changes can be signs leading to a larger health related issue. Know what your sleep, weight, skin, and restroom habits are normally and take notice of changes.

Step Two – The 2 Week Rule

Have you notice a change to your normal wellbeing that has lasted over two weeks? Any health change that has lasted over 2 weeks is worth discussing with your primary care provider. Most of these small changes will not be a cause for concern. However, waiting when it is a larger medical issue can lead to a progression of the illness canceling out earlier and more effective treatment options.

Step Three – Share Honestly with Your Primary Care Provider

Sometimes bodies and health are embarrassing. It is important to be honest with your health care provider no matter what. Honesty allows for your provider to make informed decisions and get you back to health quicker.

Taking notice of your health and taking action when there is a lengthy change is one of the most effective ways to advocate for your own healthcare. Remember, sometimes not all symptoms are visible, especially in earlier stages of major illnesses. In these cases your primary health provider can only make decisions based on what you are telling them. It is crucial you are able to articulate the differences honestly.


Forks Community Hospital

Disclaimer: This Column is not intended as a diagnosis or recommended treatment of a specific condition. Answers are not a replacement for an individual medical evaluation. Individual health concerns should be evaluated by a licensed clinician.

“What is the difference between same day appointments and walk in appointments?"

What is the difference between a walk in appointment and a same day appointment?

Walk In Appointments

Walk in visits in a clinic setting are not pre booked. You must physically walk in to the clinic to be seen by a provider and then are seen in order of arrival or severity of your medical need.  Walk in patients do not call ahead.

Same Day Appointments

Same day appointments are just that; they are scheduled that day.  We have a daily schedule for these visits and they are pre booked by calling into the clinic the day of.  With one provider serving this need we have a limited number of those visits each day.  For one provider the max is usually 18 to 20 in a day so if you need to be seen call early as appointments fill up fast.

Things to Remember

Bogachiel Clinic offers same day appointments, not walk in appointments.

Call Early! Same day appointments are booked that day. All 18-20 appointments are often scheduled prior to lunch.

Same Day means THAT Day. Same day appointments cannot be booked in advance.

Same Day Care is NOT Primary Care. Same day appointments should not replace visits with your primary care provider.

Barbara Schmidt, Clinic Administrator

Disclaimer: This Column is not intended as a diagnosis or recommended treatment of a specific condition. Answers are not a replacement for an individual medical evaluation. Individual health concerns should be evaluated by a licensed clinician.

“What is a Certified Athletic Trainer?”

What is a Certified Athletic Trainer?

National Athletic Training Month is held every March in order to spread the awareness about the important work of the Certified Athletic Trainers (ATCs). What many people think of as Sports Medicine is actually Athletic Training. In short, the profession of Athletic Training encompasses the prevention, examination, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of emergent, acute or chronic athletic injuries. They work closely with physicians and other healthcare providers such as a Physical Therapist (PT) in order to provide unique, efficient and responsive healthcare to the community. Athletic trainers are integral members of the health care team in secondary schools, colleges and universities, professional sports programs, sports medicine clinics, hospitals, corporate /industrial, and other health care settings.

The American Medical Association (AMA) first recognized Athletic Trainers as an allied healthcare profession in 1991. Since then, many other national healthcare organization such as the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have acknowledged the importance of ATCs in the field of healthcare.

To become an ATC, one must first graduate from accredited baccalaureate or master’s program in athletic training. While in college, the individual will be expected to complete a rigorous program that entails a combination of formal classroom and clinical instruction and clinical experience. They will then have to pass a national board exam and in most cases become licensed by the state department of health. Once these criteria have been met, the athletic trainer is prepared to provide health care within each of the following content areas:

  • Risk management and injury prevention
  • Pathology of injuries and illnesses
  • Clinical examination and diagnosis
  • Acute care of injury and illness
  • Pharmacology
  • Therapeutic modalities
  • Therapeutic and rehabilitative exercise
  • General medical conditions and disabilities
  • Nutritional aspects of injury and illness
  • Psychosocial intervention and referral
  • Health care administration
  • Professional development and responsibilities

Are Certified Athletic Trainers the same as a Personal Trainer or Strength Coach?

Despite being a recognized allied health care profession for almost three decades, the profession of athletic training is often miss-understood. Many people compare Athletic Trainers to personal trainers or strength coaches. This is understandable as the profession does bear the name “athletic training”. However, these professions are much more different than you think. In short, ATCs don’t train athletes. As described above, they are healthcare providers who provide care for both athletes and non-athletes alike.

As noted earlier, The ATC must go through a rigorous education program and pass a national exam. Personal trainers, on the other hand, are fitness professionals and NOT healthcare professionals. There is little or no regulation of their professional practice and there are very few requirements to obtain a personal training credential (some of which can be obtained with as little as a weekend course). The only similarity between Athletic Trainers and personal trainers is that both work with athletes, but our jobs are very different.

Where can you find a Certified Athletic Trainer?

Fortunately, the Physical Rehabilitations Department at Forks Community Hospital does have a Certified Athletic Trainer on staff, in addition to its physical therapy and occupational therapy staff.

Aaron Gee, PT, DPT, MA, ATC, CSCS

Disclaimer: This Column is not intended as a diagnosis or recommended treatment of a specific condition. Answers are not a replacement for an individual medical evaluation. Individual health concerns should be evaluated by a licensed clinician.

“Can you tell me more about Emergency Medical Services in Forks?”

Can you tell me more about Emergency Medical Services in the Community of Forks?

The community of Forks is served by a unique brand of Emergency Medical Services, we are a Hospital based Ambulance service who’s crews also work within the Hospital. Forks Ambulance has a long history of serving the Forks community, from volunteers using their own vehicles to transport patients to the present day. The core of the EMS agency is the Ray Ellis Memorial Volunteer Ambulance Corps or REMVAC for short. These volunteers have devoted their own time to train and respond to medical emergencies. We train to the King County EMS standards, each month we hold training on current practices and new procedures. As a hospital based EMS agency, we will respond to the residence or incident scene, care for and transport the patient, stay with the patient in the ER and assist the doctor and nurses there.

If the patient is admitted, our EMT’s also work inside the hospital as aides to the doctors and nurses. This provides a higher level of care for those patients that return to the hospital or need EMS services at their residence, as we are familiar with the patient, their history and their needs. There are 3 full time EMT/ER Techs and 20 per diem EMT volunteers. Currently, 8 of those volunteers are in training to receive their Advanced EMT rating. When they graduate, REMVAC will have 15 Advanced EMT’s on the roster.
Our EMT volunteers are the backbone of the service; they work the late shifts, responds from home, in the middle of the night, away from the dinner table, on holidays and weekends. At all times of the day or night, someone is listening for the call, and they are ready to respond. They will respond to the Hospital in their own vehicle, a green blinking light will identify them as responding to an emergency. So if you see a green light behind you, and you can safely move to the side, please do so. We work closely with the Fire Dept. and Police Dept. in being prepared for any emergency response that may arise.

REMVAC has trained with and responded with the National Park Service, Dept. of Natural Resources, La Push Police, Clallam County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Patrol, Forks Police Dept., Forks Fire Dept., Quileute Valley School District, the FBI, Quileute Fish and Wildlife, Clallam Bay Fire, Neah Bay Fire and many others in the Northwest Healthcare Network. We have transported patients as far away as Spokane, Seattle, Bellingham, Sequim, Aberdeen and many other places as well.

If you want to be a part of this dynamic family, contact the Forks Community Hospital and ask for the Ambulance Department, we will be holding an EMT basic course in late August.

Timothy T. Wade | Ambulance Supervisor / REMVAC Liaison

Disclaimer: This Column is not intended as a diagnosis or recommended treatment of a specific condition. Answers are not a replacement for an individual medical evaluation. Individual health concerns should be evaluated by a licensed clinician.

“Do I need to include herbal supplements on my list of medications?”

Do I need to include herbal supplements on my list of medications when talking to my Doctor?
Can I over dose on herbal supplements?
Who controls the quality of supplements?
Is there risk in taking too many types of supplements?

Your provider needs to know about all medicines you are taking whether herbal products, Over-The-Counter (OTC) medications, prescriptions, or illicit drugs.

Let’s start by identifying what is a drug: Drugs are used to diagnose, treat or prevent disease. and can include prescriptions, OTC and herbals, just by the way they act in the body. Even though herbals are not licensed as drugs, they may still act like drugs following this definition. They are all subject to toxicity and to interactions with other drugs, diseases, or foods.

As we just reviewed some of the similarities of these things, here is some background on the differences between these products when it comes to governmental regulation. Prescriptions and OTC drugs are tested by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) who then licenses these drugs when they are proven to be considered safe.

Herbal supplements follow the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 to make sure products are not adulterated or misbranded. FDA does not review dietary supplement products for safety and effectiveness before they are marketed. Manufacturers and distributors are responsible for evaluating the safety and labeling of these products. Dosing is standardized by the manufacturer and some issue a COA or Certificate of Analysis. For more detailed information about bacterial or fungal levels, heavy metal contamination, pesticide and herbicide residues in the herbal, you might need to contact the manufacturer. Should a health problem arise or be reported to MedWatch about an herbal supplement, FDA studies the threat and takes action.

This is why the consumer needs to research any supplement before taking it and certainly before taking herbals with other drugs because they can interact and affect your health. Even if the supplement is termed “all natural” it can still cause adverse effects.

The FDA has good tips before taking an herbal supplement: Check with your provider first especially if you have chronic conditions, are taking other medications, or if you have a surgery coming up.

We have seen how herbals can act as drugs in the body. At some amount, every drug is possible to overdose. Herbals can interact with other herbals, with other drugs, with foods, and pre-existing conditions and/or diseases. The more herbals you take, the more risk of ill effects. One caution is that the effect you want will probably take longer to achieve with the herbal than with a prescription or OTC drug.

While much of this discussion has focused on caution with herbals, bear in mind that some people get great benefit from them. Self-treating may be a good start for minor discomfort or improvements in mood or energy levels. These symptoms should not be ignored too long before getting help from a provider.

This is why a provider or specialist is responsible for managing drugs and herbal use. Pharmacists also have a lot of expertise in answering questions about drugs and herbals. Before prescribing, a provider reviews more than just your request for help and your history, the provider checks lab tests or other ways of determining what is wrong or even what to avoid in your care.

Treating herbals with the same respect as other drugs is important to avoid toxicity, drug interactions, and safety issues. Drugs are a major advantage in our healthcare arsenal.

The goal of drug therapy is to cure when possible, to relieve often, and to comfort always.

Janet Schade, MS, RPH

Disclaimer: This Column is not intended as a diagnosis or recommended treatment of a specific condition. Answers are not a replacement for an individual medical evaluation. Individual health concerns should be evaluated by a licensed clinician.

“Do over the counter medications effect my prescription medications?”

I have a cold. I want to take over the counter medications and Vitamin C. Do I need to ask my doctor first?
Will cough medicine effect my prescription medications?

Whether you have a cold, want to take an Over-The-Counter (OTC), or herbal product for any reason, drug interactions are a concern, especially when you already use prescriptions drugs.

There are three basic kinds of drug interactions: Drugs interacting with other drugs; drugs interacting with food or beverages; and drugs interacting with chronic conditions you already have, that may not even be related to the interacting drug you want to take. OTC drugs, vitamins, and herbals all act like drugs and potential drug interactions need to be monitored. Some drug interactions can be beneficial but many more can be dangerous.

For that reason, many drug to drug interactions need to be avoided. The herbal product St. John’s Wort has actions similar to antidepressants so some people like to take it for that reason. The problem is that this herbal remedy interacts with prescription antidepressants and can cause very serious reactions. Avoid the use of these two together unless a provider says to take both. In another case of drug interactions, timing is everything. As an example, a person taking thyroid medicine should avoid other drugs at the same time, including vitamins: To do that, the thyroid prescription is taken early in the morning on an empty stomach and the vitamin is taken an hour later with breakfast, avoiding the interaction and allowing both drugs to be taken.

Drug interactions with food or beverages sometimes go beyond a simple dietary choice. For example, there is an antibiotic tablet, metronidazole, which reacts significantly with alcohol. Even if you say you don’t drink, your body doesn’t know the difference of this interaction with alcohol from cough syrup, herbal liquid supplements, or even some kinds of candies, and rum cake. This unpleasant combination of drug and alcohol can cause violent vomiting and a bright red hot flushing of the face and torso.

Another example of the need to avoid certain food or beverages with a drug is due to the fact that alcohol is known for deadly reactions with narcotics and sedatives. Many deaths have occurred from what the small label on your prescription warns: “Use of alcohol may intensify the effect of this drug” followed by cautions about driving impaired or using machinery.

Sometimes drug-disease interactions occur because of multiple ingredients in the drug. For example, the active or main ingredient of a cough syrup may be fine with a prescription to improve control of blood sugar, but the extra ingredients of alcohol or sugar in the cough syrup can cause problems with that chronic disease, diabetes. Vitamin C can affect blood sugar too and has other interactions with several drugs that affect blood clotting.

There are likely more drug interactions possible than there are drugs. Read labels and whether you want to take something for relief or comfort for a temporary situation, note that there are many drugs with significant interactions. The best advice is to contact your pharmacist to review your prescription profile and receive well researched and practical counseling before taking any OTC drugs, vitamins, or herbals.

Janet Schade, MS, RPH

Disclaimer: This Column is not intended as a diagnosis or recommended treatment of a specific condition. Answers are not a replacement for an individual medical evaluation. Individual health concerns should be evaluated by a licensed clinician.

“Is handwashing really that important?”

“Is handwashing really that important?”

Clean hands saves lives by stopping germs from spreading from person to person. Many diseases are spread when we don’t wash our hands with soap and water. Wash your hands after using the bathroom, petting animals or handling raw meat. Body waste from people and animals carries germs like Salmonella, Norovirus, C-difficile and E-coli that can make you very sick with diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Other germs get onto our hands by touching an object someone has sneezed or coughed on. If these are not washed off we can spread them to ourselves by touching our eyes, nose or mouth or to others by touching them. The flu and other respiratory illnesses are spread this way.
Handwashing can also help in the fight against antibiotic resistance – by reducing the spread of germs there are fewer sick people taking antibiotics.
So, the CDC says….

Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Melene Bourm RN, Surgery Manager

Disclaimer: This Column is not intended as a diagnosis or recommended treatment of a specific condition. Answers are not a replacement for an individual medical evaluation. Individual health concerns should be evaluated by a licensed clinician.

“How many years should pass between colonoscopies?”

“How many years should pass between colonoscopies?”

A Colonoscopy should be done at age 50, unless there is a family history of Colon Cancer. If there is a history of Colon Cancer the person should have a colonoscopy prior to that age – usually 5-10 years before.  Example:  Father had colon cancer at age 49, son should have a colonoscopy at age 39-44.

If a person has rectal bleeding or spotting, get a colonoscopy ASAP.  This holds true no matter the family history.
If polyps are found, colonoscopies need to be done 3-5 years thereafter.
If checked and no polyps are found, it is usually 10 years before you will need another colonoscopy.

“Do I need to see my Primary Care Physician prior to scheduling a colonoscopy?’”
Yes, see your primary care physician to get scheduled for a colonoscopy.  Most insurance companies require this visit.

“Does my Primary Care Physician do my prostate exam or do I have to get a referral to a specialist?”
Primary care physicians can do the prostate exam, and order labs or tests if needed.

“Do I have to go to Port Angeles to have a colonoscopy?”
No, General Surgeon Dr. Chang can perform your colonoscopy locally at Forks Community Hospital.

Melene Bourm RN, Surgery Manager

Disclaimer: This Column is not intended as a diagnosis or recommended treatment of a specific condition. Answers are not a replacement for an individual medical evaluation. Individual health concerns should be evaluated by a licensed clinician.

How does my prescription add to medication resistance? What is medication resistance?

How does my prescription add to medication resistance? What is medication resistance?

First, let’s look at antibiotic prescriptions only. Antibiotics are built to kill bacteria (bugs) or stop bacteria from growing. In people, antibiotics are used to fight infections caused by bacteria but can cause side effects and antibiotic resistance at the same time.

Antibiotic resistance occurs when the bacteria become able to live in the presence of the antibiotic even though the antibiotic is supposed to kill the bacteria. Then the bacteria multiply and another treatment is needed to stop the infection.

How does antibiotic resistance occur? By misuse which can be taking antibiotics when they are not ordered or taken incorrectly, and by overuse when antibiotics are unnecessary like for a cold or flu and are given too often. Every time a person takes antibiotics, even when it is the right thing to do, some bacteria live (resistant bacteria) and over time there are more bacteria that are resistant to that antibiotic.

Some antibiotics that were used in the past can no longer be prescribed for the same infections treated earlier due to bacterial resistance. This can be deadly. If a bug can no longer be treated with antibiotics, those infections can lead to disability or death. Projections are that in the next 50 years, unless we manage antibiotics correctly, people like the toddler or kindergarten child in the family may die in their middle age of what is now a simple infection because that bug will no longer be treatable.

Why should anyone be concerned about antibiotics that someone else is taking? Bacteria are everywhere. The resistant bacteria grow in general society too. Anyone who misuses or overuses antibiotics contributes to the increasing problem of resistance.

The smart use of antibiotics is very important to control the spread of resistance.

What is smart use of antibiotics? Many diseases can be prevented with a vaccination so make sure you are current. Tell your doctor you prefer taking steps to get better without antibiotics if possible. Ask if your condition is from a virus and if so, decline antibiotics designed for bacteria. It might be difficult to tell if you have a virus that will clear up in another day or so or if you have a bacterial infection that needs an antibiotic so the doctor may write a prescription but ask you to wait and fill it in a day or so only if you feel worse. If you do get an antibiotic, take it as directed by the doctor and avoid skipping doses. Most will tell you to stop taking it when you feel better in several days anyway. When your treatment is completed, throw away any remaining antibiotic by adding water to the bottle with soap or coffee grounds so it is unusable by anyone else. It is important that you avoid saving it for a future illness and do not give any to a family member or friend.
These actions help prevent resistant bacteria.

This is everyone’s problem. We are partnering with you to do something about this.

At Forks Community Hospital we have a multi-disciplinary team who started a focus on Antimicrobial Stewardship over 2+1/2 years ago. We have been participating in a tele-conference every week with the University of Washington to combat this problem. Our efforts have been well done and we have received awards annually from the Washington State Department of Health. Last year we presented our program at a conference of the Washington State Hospital Association, and even won a grant to enhance our services and education to staff.

During this holiday season, protect you and your loved ones by frequently and thoroughly washing your hands: Sing the Happy Birthday song twice in a row to make sure you spend enough time with the soap and water. Cover your cough and even wear a mask, even if you are well and want to stay that way by avoiding germs of others. Stay rested and minimize anxiety. Gratitude helps. The best gift for everyone is the gift of health.

Janet Schade, MS, RPh, Director of Pharmacy.

Disclaimer: This Column is not intended as a diagnosis or recommended treatment of a specific condition. Answers are not a replacement for an individual medical evaluation. Individual health concerns should be evaluated by a licensed clinician.

I saw an advertisement for a pharmaceutical on the television. Why did my doctor choose to prescribe something else?

I saw an advertisement for a pharmaceutical on the television. Why did my doctor choose to prescribe something else?

When going shopping, many people make a list. Often times, patients treat a trip to the doctor as they do a shopping outing, with a list of drugs they would like to try. Maybe a prescription ad on TV or in a magazine looked like something for you? Perhaps your friend or neighbor has a pharmaceutical they swear by? Maybe you just want to feel better and think a prescription might help?

Sometimes, a drug is exactly what you need. Drugs can identify a disease, treat the symptoms and basic condition, or even cure it.

However, the drug you want may not be the right one.

Let’s look at your trip to the clinic as an opportunity to get the best help from your doctor, whether it is better drug or a different type of treatment.

What is a better drug? It is the one that does what it is supposed to do (the benefit) with the least side effects (the risks). Picking the best drug is a detailed process your doctor carefully considers. If you want an antibiotic and your infection is caused by a virus, an antibiotic will not work. Some drugs do not go with other ailments you have or other drugs you are already taking. Several are not to be used if you are younger than the age of 18 years. A few may be beneficial but the side effects are too much of a risk. You may already have been caring for your condition with home remedies or medication from the store. It helps the doctor to know what you have tried so far.

Over-The-Counter (OTC) drugs that you buy without a prescription can be very good for taking care of mild symptoms or for even treating a problem for a short time. They are labeled with directions for how to take them and with warnings about interactions with your conditions or other drugs you take so you know if you need to avoid them. Doctors actually recommend some OTC drugs. Also, certain herbal products can help. Often it takes longer for herbals to take full effect and they do not have the same labeling as OTC products so it is less clear if you should take them at all or what amount to take.

What is a different type of treatment? In many cases, Physical Therapy offers benefits. Here are some other ideas: For an injury, apply ice and elevate the area, use distraction like music or television; for a respiratory illness, use a humidifier or a dehumidifier as the case may be; for an infection, take a probiotic to prevent upset stomach that can occur when taking antibiotics.

Be involved in your healthcare. Be honest about what you have done and want to achieve. Be willing to follow your doctor’s instructions even if you do not get the drug on your list.

Janet Schade, MS, RPh, Director of Pharmacy.

Disclaimer: This Column is not intended as a diagnosis or recommended treatment of a specific condition. Answers are not a replacement for an individual medical evaluation. Individual health concerns should be evaluated by a licensed clinician.

Bogachiel Medical Clinic

Bogachiel Clinic provides a full range of high quality, comprehensive family health care. Located at 390 Founders Way.

Clallam Bay Medical Clinic

Clallam Bay Medical Clinic is a certified Rural Health Clinic and a department of Forks Community Hospital.

West End Outreach Services

West End Outreach Services has been serving the residents of Clallam and Jefferson Counties since 1976.

AED Presentation

The Forks Community Hospital Foundation. Active in our community.


Visit Ray Ellis Memorial Volunteer Ambulance Corp.

Discover Forks

Visit our Area Information page for access to important links to the Forks area.

Forks Community Hospital is committed to delivering excellence in health care with the highest levels of skill, professionalism, and compassion while always maintaining a focus on patient safety.

We are committed to continual improvement and meeting all regulatory requirements; and we strive to consistently exceed the expectations of our patients and their families.