LETTER: Ophthalmologist still needed in Nelson

Reader Kurt Hilger says the Star’s March 12 story was misleading

Re: Ophthalmology services return to Nelson in April,” March 12

I feel that this story is misleading.

It is good news that one of the Trail-based ophthalmologists is prepared to commute to Nelson twice each week to see patients, and provide this desperately needed service. These Nelson clinical days will also avoid the need for some local patients to travel to Trail.

However, a large number of patients from Nelson, Nakusp, Kaslo and surrounding areas need regular ophthalmic care. The majority of these will need to go to Trail, as only a small percentage of patients will be accommodated in the time available at the Nelson clinics.

Interior Health, disregarding the needs and strong protests of people in our area, turned away the ophthalmologist who was interested in replacing Dr. Neville Maytom following his retirement. This specialist would have provided a full-time service. He would also have provided his own specialized equipment, office, and staff.

Now IHA is paying for the two days a week of clinic time, and the Kootenay Lake Hospital Foundation is forced to ask our community for $100,000 of funding for ophthalmic equipment, money that could be used for other needs.

Kurt Hilger


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