Hollister Councilman Marty Richman said he intends to resign from the City Council, possibly as soon as April 6, because of his declining health. He has been hospitalized since March 9, first at Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital and then Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital, after suffering two adverse health incidents. Richman spoke to BenitoLink from his hospital bed on March 15.
“I’m submitting a resignation because my current physical health does not allow me to do this job 100%,” he said. “At this time, they’re still working on giving me a full diagnosis and early steps to get me out of the hospital.”
Richman said he cannot get around on his own, so he cannot guarantee he would be able to attend meetings, or do the required amount of “on-the-ground work” he wants to do.
“I don’t think it’s fair to the people of Hollister to not have someone there to speak for them,” he said. “My initial diagnosis is that I have cancer that is affecting my ability to breathe. I do not have lung cancer. It’s a cancer I did not know I have and it was just discovered during this health issue.”
He said he started “feeling poorly” two weeks ago and was having difficulty moving around. After seeing his primary care doctor and a cardiologist, he said neither could identify what was wrong. On the evening of March 9, his ability to breathe declined to the point where he went to the emergency room at Hazel Hawkins.
“I want to say I got terrific care there,” he said. “They identified I had a problem. They didn’t know exactly what it was, but knew they could not handle it.”
Richman said he was told that because of the hospital’s contract with ambulance services, there were only a limited number of hospitals he could be sent to. Several hours after he entered the hospital, he was transported by ambulance to SVMH.
As he was treated there, Richman said he was lucid the entire time and did not experience any pain.
“I just couldn’t breathe,” he said.
He does not know how long he will be hospitalized.
“They’re trying to figure a way to get me home. However, I need more treatment at home than mere oxygen,” he said, “so I can’t just get a bottle [of oxygen] and go home.”
Richman went on to say that several liters of fluid have already been removed from his lungs, but because fluid continues to accumulate, going home is not in the foreseeable future. He said he wanted to thank those who have called him and wished him well.
“I want to thank the people who elected me, and even those who didn’t vote for me,” he said.
He emphasized that he does not have the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and wanted to assure the public.
“Don’t panic,” he said. “I know this coronavirus is frightening. I understand there will be limitations on what you can do. We’ll get through it. Just share a little and help your neighbors. There’s no reason to hoard and no reason to be mean.”
He also said, “It has always been a great honor to serve the city of Hollister and San Benito County over the years as a member of the public. It has not always been a pleasure, but it has always been an honor.”