Not long ago the hearts of millions of people worldwide were touched by the appearance of a single photo on the Internet. It was a photograph of the body of a little three-year-old boy laying face-down at the water’s edge on a beach in southwestern Turkey. He, along with his mother and five-year-old brother were Syrian refugees who drowned in their attempt to seek refuge from persecution in their native land. They lacked the ability to survive the hazardous voyage to safety in Greece.
Are we not, as residents of Kaslo and the North Arm of Kootenay Lake, facing the possibility of an equally dire outcome should we experience a life-threatening health issue when the current clinic is closed?
The time the clinic is closed comprises the 128 hours every week outside the Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. period when the clinic is open.
Will someone in our community be faced with standing outside the locked doors of the clinic holding their child in their arms — life hanging in the balance — because they arrived 10 minutes after the 5 p.m. closing time, and thus unable to obtain possibly life-saving medical attention? It is the fear of this scenario and others occurring that compels us to action.
Interior Health states that its “priority remains the establishment of stable primary care services in the community to meet the needs of the population of Kaslo and the surrounding areas.”
Stable primary care services are, or should be, axiomatic. All health care whether 40, 80, or the full 168 hours per week should be stable, and it is a function of sound management and sound business practices. We maintain that what is truly essential to meeting the needs of our area is 24/7 medical care.
We live in a 24/7 world in which emergencies occur 24/7. We had 24/7 health care service for many decades, until the Kaslo clinic’s hours of operation were reduced 75 per cent to 40 hours per week. 24/7 medical service is vitally important, not only for our personal health, but also for the social and economic well-being of our community. Anything less is not acceptable to us. We will not rest until 24/7 is once again restored in our community.
Our society is growing, and we presently have 300 dues-paying members, and we are willing to co-operate with any organization or individual who shares our goals.
Tony Frary, Board member, Kaslo and Area Medical Care Society