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For the week of April 10 - 16 , 2002


Stanley man named Physician Assistant of Year

Express Staff Writer

Largely for his role in prompting the state of Idaho to broaden its laws surrounding the medical use of pain killers, Greg Bourdon won the Physician Assistant Excellence Award Friday.

Greg Bourdon. Courtesy photo

As a physician assistant, Bourdon provides family healthcare, preventative medicine and emergency treatment at the tiny, rural Salmon River Clinic in Stanley.

Bourdon said he was "a little surprised," when the Idaho Academy of Physician Assistants presented him with the award during its annual conference in Sun Valley.

The academy selected him from among about 300 registered physician assistants in Idaho.

Physician assistants are similar to nurse practitioners, who undergo special medical training but do not hold advanced medical degrees. They work with doctors and nurses in populated areas and alone in rural areas, where resources are limited.

"You donít want to get sick in Stanley," he said, because "youíre a long way from nowhere."

A trip by helicopter to the nearest hospital is 45 minutes. By regular ambulance, it takes 25 minutes longer. Stanley is 60 miles north of Ketchum.

Since 1991, when Bourdon took over the clinic, he has faced a major problem. As a physician assistant, he has not been allowed legally to administer morphine and other so-called Schedule II narcotics to injured patients to ease their pain while they wait for transportation.

But that is set to change July 1, the date a new state law goes into effect allowing physician assistants to give the drugs.

Bourdon said he wrote a letter to the Idaho Board of Medicine last year urging the change. The Idaho Legislature then changed the law during its 2002 session.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.