Thu, 02/13/2020 - 5:45pm

‘An island treasure’

To the Editor:

I’m sitting in a hotel in Watertown, Mass., on Friday afternoon having just read Claire’s obit in the e-Edition of The Block Island Times.

I met her in 2005 during a National Trust conference on the island; we ‘discovered’ that we had lived within a block of each other in Bannockburn, Illinois, in the late 1950s. About a year after we met, she ‘gently persuaded’ me to join the Historic District Commission, which ended up being a 10-year stint. During that time, I got to know her, and appreciated her valuable insight, advice, and, once in a while, strong opinions during back-and-forth disagreements on an HDC application. I always thought highly of her steadfast dedication in maintaining Old Harbor’s charm and character in HDC matters, especially dealing with illegal signs and encroaching sidewalk displays.

She was an island treasure, and I will miss her.

Doug Gilpin

Charlottesville, Virginia and Block Island


Quality care will continue

The following was copied to The Block Island Times:

Dear Block Island community,

After a great deal of thoughtful consideration, our medical director, Dr. Mark A. Clark, and his spouse, Michael, have ultimately decided to return to their home outside New York City to be closer to their families. Many of us have developed a bond with Mark as our doctor and friend, and we owe him great thanks for inspiring in all of us a broader vision of what the Medical Center can be. 

Towards that end, we are proud to announce the appointment of two health care professionals whose credentials and expertise will enable us to expand the range and quality of the services we offer. 

Dr. Thomas K. Warcup, a primary care physician who has also served as Senior Medical Director at UNC Health Alliance, an Accountable Care Organization, will join us in late spring. Laurie J. Anderson, an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse whose focus is in emergency care, will arrive in early spring, working alongside Mark through this transition. Dr. Warcup and Ms. Anderson worked together in primary care several years ago. Their history of working as a team was a factor in their separate decisions to come to Block Island and in ours to hire them. As sorry as many of us are to see Mark and Michael move on, we are happy for them and wish them all the best as they begin their next chapter, and we are confident that the Medical Center is well-situated to be even better able to fulfill its mission. 

Until you have a chance to meet and get to know Dr. Warcup and Ms. Anderson, I’d like to highlight their areas of expertise and explain why we are excited for this next phase of our evolution. Dr. Warcup is dedicated to quality patient care and engagement. In addition to his experience in primary care, including with the Narragansett Indian Tribal Health Center, Dr. Warcup has recently served as the Medical Director for UNC/REX Home Health Services. Block Island has an increasing number of older residents who are aging in place, and Dr. Warcup's expertise will aid our providing a range of services to this population. In addition, his combination of primary care and wellness care mirrors our goal of broadened health care delivery, including physical therapy, mental health services, and women’s health care, for all in our community. Dr. Warcup's ability to bring innovation and cost effectiveness to these services will be a foundation for our growth and development.

Ms. Anderson's skills as an APRN in a fast-paced emergency department at South County Hospital are essential to serving Block Island’s needs year-round and during our peak-population months when the Medical Center often closely resembles an emergency room. Her ability to deliver urgent acute care, as well as primary care, will serve us all well. She is also a certified diabetes outpatient educator, and has experience working with patients promoting wellness and managing chronic disease.

We will be planning a welcoming reception for both Dr. Warcup and Ms. Anderson in May and we hope that you will be able to attend and get to know both of them.  We are looking forward to working with them and welcoming them to the Block Island community.

The objective of the Block Island Medical Center and its providers is to deliver quality health care to all on Block Island. Our community expects and deserves nothing less. We serve the needs of the community at peak-summer and year-round primary and urgent care.  We will always be devoted to that mission. We thank you for your ongoing support of the essential services provided by the Block Island Medical Center.


Cindy Baute, MS, RN


Board of Directors

Block Island Health Services


Medical Center is inadequate

To the Editor:

Oh no, what a surprise. The doctor is leaving. Didn’t Block Island’s world of people with brains predict this exact scenario? But, no, the infamous Block Island Heath Services Board thought they knew better. They didn’t, as usual. We, the 900 year-round residents, lost a very successful health care provider a short time ago.

This is a small community where every aspect of everything going on is everybody’s business, whether we like it or not. You may be having a muffin and coffee with someone who has full access to all your bank accounts, or someone who knows that your tax payments are in arrears, or someone that knows you overdosed on drugs last night, or that you received a DUI yesterday. It’s the nature of the beast.

The beast is also the fact that on a bad night, fogged in, last boat gone, and you are very sick, you are not getting out of here and might not make it until morning. A Medical Center having only 900 residents for nine months out of the year can’t be staffed to remedy this situation. Thoughts of an emergency center year-round capable of dire emergencies is a pipe dream. A few years ago, I had a sudden ruptured appendix with resultant peritonitis in late January on a night when light snow began in early evening. If I had gone to the Medical Center I wouldn’t be here today. They couldn’t have operated on me, treated me with high-dose IV antibiotics and close minute-to-minute followup and observation. I literally had minutes to have our Nurse Practitioner get me out of here on my own two feet as I clawed myself to the airport. The pilot told me he hesitated to come because of the weather and had just minutes on his side. He took me to the hospital in his pickup truck. I was in surgery immediately.

Oh, for sure, we can be airlifted if we have bad weather, but we all know that trip to save our life will cost more than $10,000.

I strongly suggest that if you are sick and worsening, get off island as fast as possible if the weather is closing in and there is still a way out. Don’t fall prey to the Block Island Medical Center telling the public that they will initiate a system that can handle it, because they can’t. If nothing is done about the present Block Island Health Services Board, we shall continue a system of musical physicians, which means that when the music stops, we, and they, will fall on the floor with no chair to sit on.

John Willis, MD

Beacon Hollow Farm