Let the word go forth from the Chesapeake Bay outpost of 563 water-locked souls: Smith Island needs a doctor.
The remote Maryland community, 11 nautical miles west of Crisfield, has been without medical care since its resident nurse left in June to accept a position in Portsmouth, Va. The last full-time phyusician to serve the island was a retired Army doctor who died there is 1970.
"The pay's not too much, but all utilities will be paid, and of course, they get money for house calls," sad Morris Goodwin Marsh, like most of the islanders a waterman with a personal stake in the recruiting effort.
A medical trip to the mainland, he noted, costs $8 for the round trip by boat, plus another $3 for taxis to and from Crisfield city dock. "By the time you get your lunch, it's $3 more, and if you're working you might lose $40 or $50. If a doctor was here, you could visit him after coming back from work."
While a full-time, live-in physician is preferred, weekenders willing to devote a few hours to the causeare also welcomed; according to the Rev. Henry Zolinhoffer, a Methodist minister who is spiritual leader of the island.
Working with Cecil Fox, a cancer researcher at the National Institutes of Health, Zollinhoffer has broadcast his message through the NIH bulletin boards:
"Physicians: Donate your services for a weekend on fabulous Smith Island. The medical board of Smith Island seeks quality care physicans who will donate services on weekens in exchange for transportation from Crisfield plus room and board on the island . . . Your family is welcome as well . . . You must have a Maryland license and remember that Smith Island is a Christian community with decorum expected."
Candidates can reach Zollinhoffer at (301) 452-3081.