Dr. Kevin Hutton is a new physician on staff at Catalina Island Medical Center. He’s been an “island doctor” in the Bahamas and understands the uniqueness of working in geographically isolated locations.
Board certified in Emergency Medicine, Dr Hutton worked with Dr Monte Mellon for the past 16 years. As CEO of Golden Hour, an information systems and billing services company, and past Chairman of the MedEvac Foundation International, Dr Hutton can appreciate the challenges CIMC faces in serving its patients.
Through his association with Mercy Air and despite his short time on the island, he is already working to promote the installation of a precision GPS approach guidance system and automated weather reporting at the Pebbly Beach Heliport. This will allow emergency medevac helicopters to fly safely and provide improved evacuation services in many kinds of inclement weather.
“This new technology creates an invisible highway in the sky that will guide pilots flying instrument flight rules (IFR) directly to the island’s heliport in most weather conditions,” Dr Hutton explained.
Every minute can count when island doctors triages a critically ill patient to be medevac’d to the mainland. Transporting patients via air evacuation gives Catalina Island Medical Center doctors and patients a direct link to mainland specialists and larger, more fully equipped medical facilities.
Dr Hutton’s passion for medicine started as a USC undergraduate and as an ambulance driver in LA in the early 1980s. He went on to attend Medical School at Georgetown University and completed his Emergency Medicine residency at the University of Pittsburgh. He was on the faculty at University of California San Diego (UCSD) for five years and the Medical Director of Life Flight San Diego. He went on to be on staff at Scripps in La Jolla for 16 years and spent 19 years at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido as well, both trauma centers.
His wife Sandy is also a critical care flight nurse and often accompanies Dr. Hutton to Catalina.
To make his new island connections even more meaningful, Dr Hutton was instrumental in highlighting successful air ambulance services from Catalina by recently honoring Avalon resident Brian Dawes as the “Patient of the Year.” Sponsored by the MedEvac Foundation International. Dawes was MedEvac’ed off of the island in April of 2015 in critical condition.
“I nearly didn’t make it but here I am today,” Dawes shared when receiving his award at the annual Air Medical Transport conference in Long Beach this past October.
This award is given to a patient who exemplifies how MedEvac services enhance the chain of survival for patients. Dr. Hutton presented the award to Brian Dawes and interviewed him for a video (https://www.youtube.com/
The hospital is pleased to offer the medical services of Dr. Hutton in the Emergency Department and the Medical Group Office. He will rotate shifts with his colleague Dr. Dan Davis, a cardiac arrest specialist, and like Dr. Hutton, Dr. Davis is also a Board certified Emergency Room physician. Dr. Davis is founder of a company called Advanced Resuscitation Techniques (ART). Dr. Davis is also the Orange County Mercy Air Medical Director and former UCSD faculty member.
With the departure of Dr. Mellon, CIMC CEO Bryan Ballard, Dr. Hutton and Dr. Davis have also enlisted Dr. Erik Barton and Dr. Chris Fox from UCI. Dr. Barton is the Chairman of Emergency services at UCI. Dr. Fox is a world expert on emergency ultrasound techniques. This affiliation with UCI and CIMC will begin in the first quarter of 2016.
“Dr Davis and I also hope to be a resource for future medical provider recruitment,” said Dr. Hutton. “We know what it takes to be an ‘island doctor,’ to be on call for seven days in a row and can therefore communicate that to potential candidates to get the type of highly qualified doctors that would embrace the island lifestyle.”
Dr Hutton who grew up in Huntington Beach has been coming to Catalina since childhood. An avid sailor, diver, and spear fisherman he loves being on the ocean and living and practicing medicine in environments like Catalina. Networking with family practice and emergency room physicians and with colleagues from the University of California Irvine and UCSD will mean CIMC has a dynamic and highly experienced Emergency Physicians who are experts in MedEvac services to serve the community’s needs.
Thanks goes to Brian Dawes for sharing his courageous story of survival and to the staff of Catalina Island Medical Center and air ambulance companies who can turn moments of sheer terror into success stories. CIMC is committed to provide health care to each individual and improve the overall health of our community.
For an appointment in the Medical Group Office please call (310) 510-0096.
Story and Photo credit: Judy Hibbs