2013-08-23 / Top News

Island Medical Center to Benefit From Auction Sunday

By Noriah Williams


The Mackinac Island Medical Center is a part of the Mackinac Straits Health System, which is based in St. Ignace, and it is fully staffed and equipped with a clinic, emergency room, and ambulance to serve both Mackinac Island residents and visitors. The Mackinac Island Medical Center is a part of the Mackinac Straits Health System, which is based in St. Ignace, and it is fully staffed and equipped with a clinic, emergency room, and ambulance to serve both Mackinac Island residents and visitors. Mackinac Island Medical Center provides medical care year-around to residents and visitors, treating about 25 patients a day in the summer season. The medical center benefits from an annual community auction, and this year’s fundraiser will be Sunday, August 25, at 5:30 p.m. at the Woodfill Center at Grand Hotel. Proceeds from the auction help support the center during the winter, when the facility is less busy. Everyone is welcome at the auction.

“It’s always a good evening,” said Mayor Margaret Doud. “There’s a silent auction, live auction, good food, and it’s just a great event to benefit the medical center.”

Admission to the fundraiser is $30 per person and includes dinner.

Donations from Island businesses will be included in the raffle and silent auction, including certificates for restaurant meals, carriage rides, lodging, and boat rides.

Raffle tickets can be purchased for $100, with a first place prize of $5,000, $3,000 for second place, and $2,000 for third. In a separate 50/50 raffle, the winner will receive half of the proceeds from the $5 tickets.


Dr. Sameer Sinha, a visiting doctor from St. John Hospital, Dr. Jennifer Shockley, Mackinac Island’s family medicine doctor, and EMT Michael Wilk work at the Mackinac Island Medical Center’s main desk Tuesday, August 20. The center sees on average 25 patients a day during the summer season. Dr. Sameer Sinha, a visiting doctor from St. John Hospital, Dr. Jennifer Shockley, Mackinac Island’s family medicine doctor, and EMT Michael Wilk work at the Mackinac Island Medical Center’s main desk Tuesday, August 20. The center sees on average 25 patients a day during the summer season. The live auction, with auctioneer David Levy, will include free hotel stays from Grand Hotel and Hotel Iroquois, a lunch for six, and handmade items such as sweaters and jewelry.

Organizer Kay Hoppenrath noted the importance of the medical center to the community, pointing out it that personnel there can treat serious incidents like major head trauma, as well as allergic reactions, heart attacks, and bicycle accidents.

Mackinac Straits Health System in nearby St. Ignace pays for medical staff and equipment, but the fundraiser will help support the center’s cost of necessary general operations and maintenance.

Assisting the medical needs in a geographically isolated place like Mackinac Island requires many key players. The center not only has primary care, but an emergency room, a vaccine clinic, radiology, gastroenterology, and neurophysiology.

Betty BeDour has been working at the medical center as the summer receptionist since 1988 and likes the interaction with people.

“Sore throats, rashes, those are the things we see the most of in clinic care,” she said. “In the summer, our patient count is, on average, about 25 patients a day.”

Ms. BeDour said she does more than just reception work, and likes the variety of the job.

Paramedic technician Wendy Dawson from Central Lake is in her fifth summer on Mackinac Island and also credits the people she meets as a reason she enjoys her job. She also enjoys both the hometown doctor office aspect and the walk-in treatment aspect of the center.

“I’m like a nurse’s aide,” she said. “I triage patients when they come in. If there’s an actual emergency that the ambulance brings in, then I work in the emergency room, so it allows me to use my skills but in a more clinical setting. For such a small facility, we handle a lot of volume. The Island is such an interesting, eclectic place that has so many people from literally around the world that I’ve met people from everywhere.”

Many visitors are surprised to discover a motorized ambulance on an island that has banned cars. The ambulance mainly works as a basic life support transporter, with an emergency medical technician (EMT) who can work with patients who do not require extra support or cardiac assistance. With the presence of a trained paramedic, the vehicle can function as an advanced life support ambulance, enabling the paramedics to assist patients with cardiac monitoring and life support.

When patients require more intensive care, a patient is transported by boat, plane, or helicopter to the mainland, sometimes to hospitals as far away as Ann Arbor or beyond.

The Mackinac Island Medical Center’s emergency room is one of the few in the country not attached to a hospital. Michael Wilk works as an EMT on the ambulance during the summer season. He is a St. Ignace high school graduate and is studying at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

“In our busy season, we do about 220 runs. It’s not unusual for me to see 200 hours of call every two weeks. You get used to it,” he said.

Dr. Jennifer Shockley has been the Island physician for two years. She studied at the University of Michigan and has been practicing medicine since 1999.

“I enjoy getting to know the year-around community and the seasonal community, as well,” she said. “During the summer months, during our regular hours, we see a lot of coughs and colds, poison ivy, work injuries for employees here. Over on the ER side, we see some of the same, but also a lot of bike accidents.”

Joining the center staff in 1984, nurse Ed Chambers has had the pleasure of watching the medical center grow and improve over the years.

His interest in medicine was inspired by the medics he met while hospitalized during the Vietnam War.

“I really liked and respected those guys,” said Mr. Chambers. As for his own work, he adds, “I just like being able to help my friends.”

Radiology services are also available at the Mackinac Island Medical Center, under the supervision of radiologist Mark Lloyd. After working as a fashion photographer in Atlanta, Mr. Lloyd sees his line of work as having come full circle.

“I do basic labs here, urine analysis, basic X-rays, drug screens. I used to take pictures of people’s outsides, now I take pictures of people’s insides,” said Mr. Lloyd. “The people here are awesome. We’ve got great people, a great crew, great residents.”

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