Re: No care at emergency room (The Free Press January 11, 2001)
The letter of your correspondent relating her experience with attempting to get treatment for her child’s broken forearm at the Prince George Regional Hospital, and then having to travel for several hours by road on a winter’s night to another town, eloquently illustrates the level of health care currently available to this community.
Some years ago I had to take my own child with a broken arm to a public hospital in a “Third World” country and although the problem was dealt with immediately and efficiently, the experience was probably more traumatic for me than for the child. In the light of what the family had to endure, your correspondent’s comments are remarkably restrained.
I also do not have all the answers but it is high time that some answers are found for this community.
Here is one answer worth looking at during the “Health Summit” conference this week in Prince George: Lobby professional bodies to make it possible for immigrants with skills to make a contribution to communities where there skills are badly needed.
I see one of the recommendations from the Prince George Citizens Health Group, accepted by the Northern Interior Regional Health Board, is to “re-establish Prince George as a full functional regional referral centre and trauma centre for Northern B.C.”
Prince George “Regional” Hospital has not been a regional referral and trauma centre for the past five years, as during this time there has not been a chest surgeon and a neurosurgeon on the hospital staff. The reasons why I had to close my neurosurgical practice here in 1996 have been reported in your newspaper before (April 2000) and I will therefore not repeat them here.
A highly competent anesthesiologist recently announced his intention to leave in spite of the agreement between the local doctors and the government. The reasons he gave for his decision was that he is losing his skills as he does not get any experience in dealing with neurosurgery and chest surgery cases and the instability in the hospital generally which he feels will continue over the long term. (Anesthesiologist still leaving; Free Press October 15, 2000).
Johan Oosthuizen F.R.C.S. Ed.