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Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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Scouts change their mind

Jamboree fly-outThe Boy Scouts of America apparently are backing away from their plan to continue to use Mary Washington Hospital for those who are injured or become ill at the National Scout Jamboree in July.

The reversal came after Tim Tobin, chief executive officer of the Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center, saw the posting here about the Boy Scouts’ plan.  Tobin called Scout headquarters in Texas to ask about the policy. His hospital opens in May and is a few miles closer than Mary Washington to the Jamboree site at Fort A.P. Hill.

“It gives the appearance that the Boy Scouts have decided that our hospital is not good enough for them,” he said yesterday.

Tobin said Scout officials told him that the Scouts have now decided to defer to the EMS crews who are transporting. EMS crews usually take patients to the closest appropriate hospital. If the patient needs trauma services, that patient will probably go to Mary Washington, Tobin said. A burn patient might go to the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center in Richmond. Patients who can be treated at the Spotsylvania hospital could go there, he said.

“It is important that people not perceive us as a less-than-adequate facility,” Tobin said. “We are a very capable organization, and we’re going to be very ready to take care of anything that we need to take care of.”

Renee Fairrer, Scouts’ spokeswoman, did not respond to phone and e-mail requests for comment.

UPDATE: Fairrer called this afternoon to confirm that if a Jamboree participant needs off-site medical care, EMS crews will take that person to the closest appropriate hospital. “It was never my intent to slight his facility,” she said, referring to Tobin. “My intent is to make sure that every parent and every spouse who’s sending someone to that Jamboree knows that they will get the best medical care possible.


  • tpkeller

    I’ve thought about this all day, and I can’t get past my first reaction. This whole story reeks of a whiny publicity-hungry PR firm throwing a tantrum.

    “Waah waah waah, you left out MY hospital!!”

    Does Mr. Tobin know nothing about the effort and time it takes to plan an event as grand as a National Jamboree? The last Jamboree, in 2005, hosted 43,000 participants, and turned Ft. AP Hill into a fair sized city.

    The article states that the new hospital is supposed to open in May. Can Mr. Tobin guarantee the Boy Scouts, who have been planning for five years, that his hospital will be open and 100% functional by then? Could he make that guarantee a year ago? Or two? You better believe the Boy Scouts were planning back then.

    It’s not the Boy Scouts’ job to keep up with new hospital construction schedules. I’m sure they had no intention to overlook the new hospital. How would they even know about it?

    It’s fairly obvious that if someone needs a hospital, the local EMS organizations will be more than able to correctly choose and transport patients to the most appropriate facility.

    Don’t get me wrong, it will be great to have another local hospital. I just don’t think we need their officials to act like spoiled little brats when they don’t get the first piece of cake at a party.