Palm Drive Health Care District board president Chris Dawson resigns

The former president of the Palm Drive Hospital board, who resigned from his post last week because of concerns for his health and family, said Monday he hopes a new "positive inertia" will bring the community together to reopen west county's only full-service acute hospital.

"There has been too much negative energy that does nothing to bring people together or re-imagine an innovative and relevant health care future for west county," former board president Chris Dawson said in an email Monday. He declined a phone interview.

In his resignation note to the board, Dawson said the "past six months or so have taken a toll on my personal health and my family's well-being, and it is time for me to step down and address those concerns."

In the note, Dawson said he was "encouraged" by the board's recent hiring of Daymon Doss as the district's executive director. Doss is a Kenwood health care consultant and former chief executive of the Petaluma Health Care District.

The hospital board, which is currently navigating the district through bankruptcy proceedings after the April 28 closure of the Sebastopol hospital, said it would fill the vacancy as soon as possible.

Sebastopol Police Chief Jeff Weaver said Monday he had worried the closure of the hospital was taking a toll on the health of Dawson and former hospital CEO Tom Harlan, who resigned shortly after the hospital closed.

"Closing a hospital, that's a pressure cooker," Weaver said. "Obviously, the community concern was substantial and some people voiced that in a very pointed and personal way."

"There was a public meeting where the board members were called "murderers," he said, adding that such comments were "counterproductive and inappropriate."

During the discussions over whether to close the hospital, Weaver often voiced his concerns over public-safety issues that would result from the closure.

"I have raised and continue to raise public-safety concerns created by the lack of a local hospital," Weaver said.

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