LETTER: Handling of ER called ‘bad medicine’

So as you talked about the 80 per cent of ER visits that were coded 4 or 5, I wondered about the other 20 per cent

Andrew Neuner, Vice President Community Integration for Interior Health, I listened to your and Dr. Jeremy Etherington’s presentation cancelling our ER through a loudspeaker, as I stood outside the Kimball building in the dark, holding a candle.

And as I listened to your reasoned and quietly slick deliveries, I realized that your mandate was not to deliver healthcare services to the population of interior BC, but only to those persons who lived in a density that was “cost effective.”

So as you talked about the 80 per cent of ER visits that were coded 4 or 5 (not needing the attention of anyone more professional than a care aide) I wondered about the other 20 per cent. Five hundred people live north of Kaslo, most of them 45 minutes to an hour’s drive away. We’ve been written off.

It costs more to deliver healthcare to rural areas, and that’s a given. But by making your decisions based on money, not people, you have not only created a bad situation for those of us affected by your continual health cuts, but you have created a bad situation for yourselves — you think that you can ignore inflammation in the group, when this same inflammation in an individual would be treated as a symptom of disease.

This is bad medicine.

Instead of problem solving by fixing a solution and then working toward it (which was the case by closing the Kaslo Hospital ER) why would you not use the information presented in the Ross Report (for one) to help us out?

What we need is staff 24 hours a day in the Kaslo Hospital to help people who need medical attention right away.

It was clear from your remarks to council where you felt the real problem lay — with the physicians.

These people who don’t want to work 80 hours a week, who resent nurse practitioners, and who want to make a high six figure income are just like IHA executives. The reason we don’t have 24/7 healthcare in Kaslo is because you people stated the problem in such a way as to exclude that outcome.

By refusing to renew the contracts of physicians who refused to work ER, we lost our daytime physicians. Earn your salary by finding the compromise and work for us, not against us.

The problem here is simple and won’t go away: We need to have staff available at our health centre 24 hours a day.

It doesn’t need to be doctors; a nurse or nurse practitioner would be adequate. Please redefine the problem in terms of providing service to everyone instead of 95 per cent of us. I think you will find that the answers are already there.

 

Harvey Armstrong

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