Charles Clary, DO

Family Medicine, KP Napa-Solano

“Dr. Clary’s knowledge of the Napa medical community and his willingness to help only moments after his own evacuation were instrumental to the smooth medical response to these devastating fires.”
— Christopher Walker, MD, physician-in-chief, KP Napa-Solano

Early in the morning on October 9, 2017, Napa County awoke to thick smoke from the historic Northern California wildfires. Charles Clary, DO, a Napa resident and family medicine physician, evacuated his home and immediately reported to work, where his chief instructed him to assist at the main evacuation center.

When he arrived at Napa Valley Junior College, Dr. Clary found the response to the firestorm well underway. Cots, food, and clothing were available for more than 400 evacuees housed in the small gymnasium. But he also immediately noticed no structured medical response was in place. So he walked from cot to cot with his stethoscope, checking in with people—and observed something else.

“Evacuees had rushed from their homes in the middle of the night, fleeing for their lives, and didn’t have their medications with them,” he says. “For those with diabetes, asthma, or depression, this was cause for great concern.”

He quickly contacted physician leaders of Kaiser Permanente Napa-Solano, OLE Health, and Queen of the Valley Medical Center. Together they organized the community medical response to staff the evacuation center. They also were able to determine which medications evacuees needed, based on information in the organizations’ electronic medical record systems, and within the same day had arranged to have 30-day supplies available for pickup.