Published in L&M’s First Hand Newsletter March 27, 2015
by Bill Hanrahan, First Hand – Featured Daily, Physician Profile
Islands always have unique vibes, so it’s no surprise that the L+M Medical Group staff on Fishers Island offers a special kind of care.
Led by Dr. Chris Ingram and supported by Dianna Shillo, practice supervisor; Kapri Thomas, medical assistant, and Jamie Doucette, patient coordinator, the team provides primary and urgent care to about 250 residents in winter and as many as 5,500 over holiday weekends in summer.
The office, says Shillo, “goes from being extremely busy for two to three months in the summer to a day like we had after a recent snowstorm when we didn’t see one patient. The next day we had seven patients.”
Busy or otherwise, Dr. Ingram, trained emergency medicine, is always on call, ready to handle any patient concerns. In addition, for patients with life-threatening conditions, Dr. Ingram can call on the island’s emergency vessel – the “Sea Stretcher” – to quickly transport a patient across Fishers Island Sound to L+M Hospital. He can also refer to other specialists within the L+M Medical Group.
On typical winter days, the doctor’s office on Fishers Island reflects the laid-back mood of many of the island’s inhabitants, and Dr. Ingram prides himself on being able to take extra time with his regular patients, many of whom are also his neighbors and friends.
“It’s a higher level of attention that I can afford, because I’m not as busy as the next guy,” he says. “But, it’s also sort of the pact that I’ve made, not explicitly, but implicitly, with the community. I think that’s why it works so well.”
Dr. Ingram says it’s not always easy to be the only doctor on an island, but he enjoys it. “I pretty much know, at this point, everyone on the island,” he says. “Sometimes I’ll follow up with people in the street or in the grocery store.”
Shillo said the entire team on Fishers Island is proud of their work and honored to serve the island’s residents, whether year-round and seasonal. “Our office is a vital part of the community,” she says. “It’s like having a school on the island. If you lose that, you don’t have a community, so we know we’re an important service.”