Kootenay Lake Hospital won’t have a resident ophthalmologist when Neville Maytom retires at the end of February. File photo

Kootenay Lake Hospital won’t have a resident ophthalmologist when Neville Maytom retires at the end of February. File photo

Nelson’s only ophthalmologist to retire in February

Dr. Neville Maytom says Interior Health has no plans to replace him

Nelson’s only ophthalmologist is about to retire, and the Interior Health Authority has no plans to replace him.

Neville Maytom, who has practised in the West Kootenay for 30 years, said in a letter to patients dated Sept. 27 that he intends to retire at the end of February.

In the letter, which is attached to the end of this story, Maytom writes about his concerns that his position won’t be filled even though someone has expressed interesting in taking over his practice.

“It has been clear to me over the period of my career that there is enough work for three ophthalmologists in the West Kootenay, and many of these patients are from Nelson and communities north of here as far as Nakusp and Meadow Creek.”

Maytom declined to comment further when contacted by the Star.

Ophthalmology is the school of medicine focused on eye disorders and treatment including surgery.

Maytom added in his letter there is also currently no after-hours emergency surgery available at Nelson’s Kootenay Lake Hospital for ophthalmology patients.

A spokesperson for Interior Health said in a statement they are exploring opportunities to have their two ophthalmologists in Trail provide services in Nelson, and that surgical ophthalmology services will still be provided at Kootenay Lake Hospital.

“Two ophthalmologists in Trail are able to see patients from across the Kootenay Boundary and the new ophthalmologist in Trail is accepting referrals,” the statement said.

“There is currently a minimal wait to get in to see an ophthalmologist in the Kootenay Boundary.”

Winlaw resident Kurt Hilger is concerned that could change once Maytom retires.

Hilger has been one of Maytom’s patients for his entire tenure in Nelson, and says the doctor has always been immediately available in an emergency.

“He puts everything aside to see me,” said Hilger.

Hilger has already written to Interior Health expressing his concerns about the lack of an ophthalmology replacement in Nelson. He recalls one year when neither Maytom nor the two ophthalmologists were available for an emergency call.

“The doctors in the emergency room, basically they told me what I already knew but they couldn’t do a thing. They said, ‘Oh, drive to Kelowna.’ Well, yeah, I can barely see. I’m going to drive to Kelowna in the middle of winter over the Paulson?”

Hilger ended up flying to Vancouver for treatment.

“The point is if there are only two ophthalmologists, how many more times is there going to be no ophthalmologist available?”

Maytom’s impending retirement has also caught the attention of new Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison, who said in a statement Wednesday that although it is a provincial matter he agrees with Maytom’s concerns.

Related:

LETTER: IHA won’t replace retiring Nelson ophthalmologist



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Nelson’s only ophthalmologist to retire in February

Just Posted

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin makes preparations at Toronto’s mass vaccination clinic, Jan. 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
3 deaths, 234 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

One death connected to outbreak at Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital, where 20 patients and 28 staff have tested positive

The trial of Harry Richardson began Monday at the Nelson courthouse. File photo
Trial of man accused of shooting RCMP officer near Argenta in 2019 begins

Harry Richardson is facing five charges in a Nelson courtroom

Gerald Cordeiro of Kalesnikoff Lumber Ltd. says the company is looking for a non-profit organization to take over and run its proposed agroforestry project. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Logging company proposes agroforestry project for Nelson area

Kalesnikoff Lumber is floating the idea of growing trees in conjunction with food crops

Zaudanawng “Jay-Dan” Maran in his Creston home. Hanging on the wall behind him is a logo of Kachin’s Manaw festival. Photo: Aaron Hemens
From Myanmar to Creston: The story of a refugee

In October 2007, Zaudanawng “Jay-Dan” Maran and his friends encountered a woman being sexually assaulted by two Myanmar soldiers.

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

Kamloops This Week.
48 COVID-19 cases and one death associated with outbreak at Kamloops hospital

One of the 20 patients infected has died, meanwhile 28 staff with COVID-19 are isolating at home

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

A Kelowna couple welcomed their Nooner baby in December. (Flytographer)
Kelowna couple welcomes baby girl from Hotel Zed Nooner campaign

Nicole and Alex will now have 18 years of free stays at the hotel

Kyrell Sopotyk was drafted by the Kamloops Blazers in 2016 and played two seasons with the Western Hockey League club. (Photograph By ALLEN DOUGLAS/KTW)
Kamloops Blazer paralyzed in snowboarding accident sparks fundraiser for family

As of Jan. 24, more than $68,000 had been raised to help Kamloops Blazers’ forward Kyrell Sopotyk

Most Read