Center of Excellence: Emergency Services


Hundreds of doctors and first responders work together to create a well integrated emergency care service for Mendocino Coast residents.

Our medical staff includes contracted physicians from the well-respected Valley Emergency Physicians Medical Group (VEP), which serves 23 hospitals throughout California. More than 90% of VEP’s emergency physicians are board-certified or board-eligible in Emergency Medicine or a Primary Care specialty.

The Emergency Department is staffed 24-hours a day by an experienced team of medical professionals. All Emergency Department physicians are certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS). Emergency Department registered nurses are certified as Mobile Intensive Care Nurses (MICN) and are assisted by a two-person team of Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT). Medical consultants are available on-call in various specialties such as Gynecology, Internal Medicine, Obstetrics, Pathology, Pediatrics, Radiology, Neurology, & Surgery.

Dr. Kimbro examines ER patient

Dr. Kimbro examines ER patient with Dr. Reeves assisting

Medical Director

Tamaki Kimbro, M.D.
Board Certification: American Board of Emergency Medicine

New Sprinter Advanced Life Support AmbulanceSince 1986, Mendocino Coast District Hospital has owned and operated an advanced life support (ALS) ambulance. This means that, within the hospital district, when 911 is called for a medical emergency, one of our paramedic/EMT-staffed ambulances responds with what is essentially a mobile emergency room.

Our paramedics are licensed by the State of California and certified regionally by Coastal Valleys EMS. Ongoing training and continuing education keep our crews up-to-date and fully prepared for the wide spectrum of possible medical emergencies.

Jeri Erickson, MCDF Executive Director with $96,000 donation to pay for new Sprinter ambulance
In addition to 911 response, our ambulances serve the important roll of transporting patients from our hospital to other facilities. On occasion the coastal weather makes helicopter transport for our most critical patients impossible and one of our ground ambulances is there to fill in the gap.

Two Paramedics

Since its founding in 2006, Mendocino Coast Ambulance Support (MCAS) has raised thousands of dollars for our ambulance service. This money has been used for the purchase of ambulances and the (very expensive) equipment they carry.

MCAS provides an ambulance membership program, similar to those offered by our local air ambulances, CalStar and REACH. For $45 per year, you and the members of your household are covered for one emergency transport.  For more information about this program, visit the MCAS website.


The Mendocino Coast Hospital Foundation has also been an essential source of funding for our ambulance across the decades, primarily through the annual 911 Raffle. This money has been used primarily to outfit the service with up-to-date ambulances and equipment.


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Connected through the Internet to cardiologists, stroke and other critical care specialists in the San Francisco Bay Area, our telemedicine robot is available 24-hours a day for patient support.

A Patient’s Story
The story of former patient Larry Grant of Albion, healthy and home after nine days in the Mendocino Coast District Hospital ICU, right, and James Gude, M.D., a critical care specialist (aka the robot), is a demonstration of the power of the telemedicine program.

Dr. Gude, who is located in the Bay Area, was guiding the hospital’s telemedicine robot when Grant arrived for emergency care, worked with a hospital physician to come up with a treatment plan to keep Grant from being unnecessarily transported over the hill to another hospital.

It was the first ever use of the new robot to diagnose and treat a local patient. “I was surprised when the robot appeared in my room,” said Grant. “Dr. Gude wanted to know if had ever spoken to a robot before. I said no. Then he asked me questions to help them figure out the problem and what needed to be done. Dr. Gude and everyone in the ER and ICU were wonderful.”
The hospital’s robot has been named Dr. Don after retired physicians Don Hahn, right, and Don Thomas. Both doctors practiced at the hospital for nearly 30 years and easily won a contest among employees for a new name for the robot.

Dr. Don allows specialists from out of the area to consult on local cases. And local residents get to stay on the coast rather than driving over the hill (to Ukiah, Willits or Santa Rosa) for their care.

Although the Mendocino Coast is sparsely populated with only 25,000 residents spread over the 70 miles of the Healthcare District, a robust team of emergency responders with advanced skills and training, responds to every emergency call. They are coordinated by the county 9-1-1 call system and work closely with MCDH emergency physicians.

Ambulance Service

Mendocino Coast Hospital is designated as an emergency “base hospital” with a team of emergency medical technicians on board each ambulance. They remain in constant radio contact with the hospital ER staff and have the skill, knowledge, and equipment necessary to intervene in life threatening emergencies. The ambulance teams monitor local and county emergency radio channels and can dispatch two fully-equipped advanced life support ambulances to any location in our hospital district.

Volunteer Fire Departments

Because of the rural setting with miles of beaches, treacherous cliffs and forests, the fire departments have highly trained search and rescue teams. The towns of Gualala, Elk, Albion-Little River, Mendocino, Fort Bragg and Westport all maintain volunteer fire departments who routinely respond to every 9-1-1 call in their service areas.

U.S. Coast Guard

With bases in Fort Bragg and Eureka, Coast Guard search and rescue teams, which include helicopter and ocean rescue craft, respond to 9-1-1 calls involving ocean and river-related accidents or rescues.

CalStar and Reach Air Ambulance Services

A vital part of the MCDH first responder teams are the pilots, physicians and nurses from our two private helicopter medivac units. Depending on the nature of the emergency, these flying intensive care units might pick up a patient from an accident site and take them to our local hospital or transfer a critically-ill patient to a large medical center for advanced care.

A note about air ambulance costs: for those not covered by insurance, both CalStar and Reach offer annual individual memberships ($40) and family memberships ($45 a primary cardholder and spouse or partner and other immediate family living in the same residence). Membership covers the cost of an emergency flight, which can run $30,000 or more. You need memberships from both services to have full coverage, but the investment can be a financial lifesaver in the end.

For memberships:
Phone: 866 767-3224 (toll free) Fax: 707 324-2478
CalStar –
Phone: 707.462.5972
Fax: 707.462.5974

Family Support

Many people – whether tourists or locals – find themselves alone and distressed when a loved one or friend faces emergency treatment. For those who want a shoulder to lean on or spiritual support, we offer the services of a large corps of chaplains. Someone from the program is on call 24 hours a day. For more information, contact the Chaplain Coordinator, Reverend Tanya Wyldflower at 707-961-1234, extension 208.

Temporary Housing

When a friend or loved on is admitted to the hospital following emergency treatment, you may want or need to stay in the area for a few days or more. For overnight lodging offering hospital discounts contact the
Surf Motel and Gardens –

Gene Lock About MCDH Vs. Big City ER Care

“As an unbiased observer accustomed to ER procedures in larger city hospitals … your staff does not come any better.” – Gene Lock

Noe Hinojosa tells how the ER and CCU teams saved his life