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EDITORIAL: Healing for CROW supporters should begin now

By Staff | Aug 26, 2010

During the past few weeks, following the resignation of CROW’s longtime Clinic Director Dr. PJ Deitschel, there has been an increase in criticism of the wildlife hospital’s Board of Directors and executive staff.

Specifically, several volunteers, supporters and members of CROW united in a mission to protest some of the recent changes at the Sanibel rehabilitation facility. The group of approximately 75 calls itself Wildlifers Organized to Restore CROW, or WORC.

WORC is concerned about what they call a "change in focus" at CROW, including directing additional resources toward the year-and-a-half old Healing Winds Visitor Education Center and rumors that the clinic is considering opening hospital doors to the public.

To date, CROW’s medical facility has been strictly off-limits to visitors. We agree that this is the right path — patient care is, has been and always will be the utmost concern at the wildlife hospital. To open their doors to tourists would do little good for CROW or its reputation in this community.

Change is inevitable. The decision of Dr. Deitschel to leave CROW in order to assist in the treatment and recovery of wildlife affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf was a difficult one. "CROW has been my passion for 12 years and will always hold a very special place in my heart," she wrote on July 16.

However, the decision was hers. We know that CROW’s loss is going to benefit injured and oiled wildlife along the Gulf. And we hope that Dr. PJ will visit — or return to — Sanibel in the future, as she wishes.

We also applaud the board’s decision earlier this week to name Dr. Amber McNamara as the new Clinic Director. McNamara first came to CROW in 2001 as part of a student externship and returned as a veterinary intern in 2003. She was named staff veterinarian in 2006.

More than that. McNamara worked alongside Deitschel for many years, learning how to treat injured wildlife with both traditional Western medical practices as well as incorporating Chinese herbal medicines and treatments.

The two were a team. But now, one member of that team has "left the nest." The other remains.

We support the appointment of McNamara at CROW and wish her much success here. And we hope that the community, including the members of WORC, will accept her appointment as well.

— Reporter editorial