“Dr. Redd’s patients suffered as much direct personal loss as anyone. Many of them had medical histories that existed only in Dr. Redd’s memory. His time with them stretched back so far that records had long been lost or destroyed, and he alone carried full knowledge of their past medical care and needs. Many of them were on medical regimens with which only he was familiar. Many had never seen another physician. He was especially favored by the Native Americans who saw him with fervent dedication, often at significant personal sacrifice (relinquishing completely financially subsidized care to see him).”
Dr. James Redd was one of the first direct victims of overwrought 21st Century federal militarism against unarmed, law-abiding citizens, and his story came to vex the press and disquiet the national conscience. On June 11, 2009, Dr. Redd, a beloved small town physician, family man and church leader, took his own life following a protracted and sadistic interrogation the previous day by federal agents looking for evidence of looting in his home.
Operation Cerberus Action, headed by the controversial Bureau of Land Management (BLM) agent, Dan Love, targeted dozens of local folks in Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico who were suspected of taking part in a million dollar Native American antiquities black market. Despite the fact that arrow tips, pottery shards, beads and other Anasazi items can literally cover the ground in some areas near his hometown of Blanding, Utah, Dr. Redd himself, was not terribly interested in collecting artifacts. This was evidenced in actual conversations recorded during the federal informant’s time in his home. But his wife and daughter enjoyed the hobby of picking up and preserving various antiquities common to the region, and did so, not unlike many people throughout the Southwest who would rather preserve ancient relics than see them ground to dust underfoot.
But Dr. Redd, with his nice house on the hill, his impeccable reputation in the community, and his irreproachable kindness, became a target for the BLM and FBI agents working Operation Cerberus. His home was one of many raided by more than a hundred agents in military-style body armor and carrying automatic weapons, that summer day. [Please go here to read more about Operation Cerberus and the actions of federal agents] But the treatment of Dr. Redd was beyond cruel, and the trauma of the raid left his family bewildered and stunned, and left him desperate for a way to relieve his wife and daughter of the potential for federal charges, trials and incarcerations. On the morning of June 11, Dr. Redd was found deceased in his Jeep. He had done for his family what many others in the community knew he would to do for everyone he met. He gave it all he had.
The letters below belong to Redd’s widow, Jeanne, and his children, and were delivered to them following the death of their beloved patriarch. Members of his family wrote the following introduction for Free Range Report.
Dr. James Redd is a man of great integrity and someone who loved America. The three following letters give a great insight into what kind of a man Dr. James Redd is.
The first letter was written by Dr. Paul Reay, a family practice physician who worked along side Dr. Redd in San Juan County, Utah. They were not only colleagues but friends as well. After the untimely death of Dr. James Redd, Dr. Reay wrote a letter to Jay Redd, Dr. James Redd’s son, detailing the devastating impact the sudden loss his father has had on the medical care for the rural communities in the area.
The next letter describes Dr. Redd’s kindness in helping those he came in contact with. The letter was sent via Facebook from Afghanistan to one of Dr. Redd’s daughters. The author of the letter was a soldier serving our country there. No one in Dr. Redd’s family knew who the author was except for one of his daughters. Dr. Redd had never mentioned to any of his family what he had done for this high school wrestler. Dr. Redd did not do it to receive praise or recognition from others, he did it out of the kindness of his heart. Who knows how many other people he touched in a similar manner. The Redd family has received over 60 letters from those whose lives have been touched in one way or another by Dr. James Redd.
The third letter was written by Dr. James Redd to President Bush. It illustrates the love he had for America, the office of the President and the government at that time.
In the last part of the audio message he left for his family, Dr. Redd said, “Tell Debbie I’m sorry I didn’t get everything dictated.” He is referring to the dictation on the patients he saw the day before Dan Love and the BLM/FBI raided his home and destroyed his life over a tiny bead. The night of the raid, which was Dr. Redd’s final evening on Earth, he went up to the nursing home to check on his elderly patients one last time before he left this mortal life. He wanted to make sure they were taken care of and to see if there was anything he needed to do for them. When you compare and contrast the characteristics of Dr. Redd and Dan Love there seems to be quite a difference. Dr. Redd’s work ethic and kindness are just two that are illustrated here. (See the OIG’s report on the investigation into ethics violations, intimidation and cover up’s by Dan Love).
A Medical Community Left Devastated
Dear Dr. Jay Redd,
I am pleased to be able to respond about the value and importance of your father, James Redd, MD; and the impact of his loss both upon me personally and upon the medical community and healthcare delivery system.
James Redd shared the responsibilities for medical care in our rural area where we are chronically short of physicians. He shared the large patient load with three or four other physicians, both in the clinics and in the emergency room. The most difficult part of that contribution would be the “on call” hours attending to emergency room patients during the nights, on weekends and on holidays. Those hours are the hours that steal sleep and health from physicians. It is at times almost overwhelming and his loss added a 30% increase to labor and load of the remaining physicians in our system. Since his death, I have questioned and I believe the other physicians have also, whether we can continue in the demands that are placed upon us.
Dr. Redd’s patients suffered as much direct personal loss as anyone. Many of them had medical histories that existed only in Dr. Redd’s memory. His time with them stretched back so far that records had long been lost or destroyed, and he alone carried full knowledge of their past medical care and needs. Many of them were on medical regimens with which only he was familiar. Many had never seen another physician. He was especially favored by the Native Americans who saw him with fervent dedication, often at significant personal sacrifice (relinquishing completely financially subsidized care to see him).
The loss of James Redd to our hospital almost resulted in financial ruin. It was probably the single most devastating thing that could have happened to us just from a standpoint of financial loss. We only barely waded through the months following his death.
I’ve repeatedly called Dr. Redd, “larger than life”, and part of that reputation and legend was the extraordinary and almost extra-human things that he accomplished as a physician. I was present on the night when he orchestrated the care of victims of a large bus accident in our area. Five patients at a time could overwhelm our small emergency room, but 10 times that many patients were processed and cared for under his direction all through the night. He not only coordinated the effort, and directed the other physicians, but cared for an equal share of the victims. I would have thought what he did to be impossible had I not seen it. He had skills that few other rural family practice physicians possess, and mind and memory so sharp that it seemed he never forgot or overlooked anything. Losing those capacities from among us might cost the lives of patients in the future.
In addition to everything else, Dr. Redd served as the Chief of the Medical Staff. He served on the Health Service District Board. He championed the political causes of the underserved and neglected in this area, and was loved by them. He was loved and will be missed by many of us.
Paul R. Reay, DO Chief of Medical Staff, San Juan Hospital
A Stranger Whose Life Was Changed for Good
You probably don’t know me and I don’t know you but I knew your dad. I lived in Blanding a while ago and was in your grade. When I was in high school I lived down the road with a family that was less fortunate than others. I would walk home from school just about every day after wrestling practice. I never went to any of the wrestling matches or anything like that because I didn’t have wrestling shoes.
One day on the way home from practice a car stopped and picked me up. The man (your father) asked me where I was going and where I was coming from. I told him and he took me home. The next day the same thing happened and continued to happen at least three days out of the week. I informed him that he didn’t need to pick me up every day. He said that he was on his way home but I’m pretty sure he would come looking for me. One day he asked me how wrestling was going, I said good. I didn’t tell him that I didn’t have shoes or any of the required gear because I couldn’t afford them. I don’t know how he found out but he did. About a week later I was sitting in school and got called to the office. I went to the office and was given a box with a note on top. I opened it and there were some brand new wrestling shoes and gym clothes. The note gave me some words of encouragement and told me good luck. The next time he picked me up I told him that I was very thankful for all the stuff but that there was no way I could repay him. He told me to do my best and to win some matches and that would be good enough. I mentioned that when I won state I would show him my medal.
Shortly after that I was moved to another foster family. I started school and was not doing very well. The guidance lady at the school told me that I didn’t really have any chance of graduating because of the credits I lacked from moving around. Wrestling season started and I started to pass my classes. I was pretty bad at wrestling but by my senior year I was winning a lot of my wrestling matches and was on track to graduate. I thought a lot about what your dad said to me and what he did for me. I didn’t want to let him down. I wanted to thank him but I didn’t know how to and was afraid so I just tried harder when it came to wrestling and school. It is hard for me to put into words how that act of kindness has affected my life but it had a major impact.
Your father didn’t know who I was but went out of his way to help me. He showed me kindness that I had never had before and it’s helped me throughout my life. What I am trying to say is that your dad helped me more than he will ever know. I only hope that someday I can do something to make up for what he did for me. I never won state but I took third in the state final my senior year. I wanted to call him or write him a letter to tell him but I was too scared and I was not sure how to do it. That little act of kindness that didn’t even faze him has helped me throughout my life. The wrestling medals I won hang in my room. They are a constant reminder of a man that helped me more than he will ever know.
Letter from James Redd to President George W. Bush