North St. Louis health center doctor quits after rise in violenc - KMOV.com

North St. Louis health center doctor quits after rise in violence in the area

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Violence is driving out those trying to help in north St. Louis. Myrtle Hilliard Davis Comprehensive Health Center has four sites throughout North City. (Credit: KMOV) Violence is driving out those trying to help in north St. Louis. Myrtle Hilliard Davis Comprehensive Health Center has four sites throughout North City. (Credit: KMOV)
NORTH ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

Violence is driving out those trying to help in north St. Louis. Myrtle Hilliard Davis Comprehensive Health Center has four sites throughout North City. They've been serving the uninsured and under-served in the area for 48 years, but they are becoming crippled by staff quitting over crime that keeps happening near them and to them.

Each of these health center sites have armed guards outside. Last week, at the Florence Hill location, two men held a guard at gun point while they stole his weapon. One doctor at that site was so traumatized by the incident that he ended up quitting his job.

"We witness a lot," said Angela Claybon, the CEO of Myrtle Hilliard Davis Comprehensive Health Center.

And another recent incident occurred when a woman was shot in a drive-by shooting right outside the health center main office on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. 

"She jumped out of the car and we had to save her life on our front lawn," said Claybon.

Claybon said every time one of these traumatic incidents happens, they either lose staff completely or staff take long amounts of time off to cope.

"Some of our providers were so traumatized they did not return back to work," said Claybon.

Right now, they are five full-time doctors understaffed. This shortage is forcing the doctors and nurses who are still working to put in longer days to meet the demand.

"We average about 20-22 patients per day, but it's worth it. At times, I won't say we over work, but there is always work to do," said Leslie McCrary-Etuk, chief medical doctor at MHDCHC. 

While they work to recruit more doctors and nurses, they always highlight the panic buttons that are at each health center and located at each administrative desk. When these buttons are pushed, they alert guards that something has become unsafe. 

For Dr. McCrary-Etuk, she says the reward of serving these patients and developing relationships with them, overcomes her fear of the nearby violence.

"When they have insurance and they can go elsewhere, and they decide to stay, it makes you want to stay," said McCrary-Etuk. 

To apply or view the job openings with MHDCHC, click here: http://mhdchc.org/careers/

Copyright 2017 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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