I am writing in response to your article in the April 18 Spotlight – 24/7 ER care demanded.
While I agree that the ER service needs to be 24/7, I take exception to Deputy Mayor Earle’s comments that, “Doctors in Princeton should have to help out in the emergency department.”
One of our physicians in question has served this community for some 27 years and of that 23 years of doing his share of on-call.
Call in early years involved, often, three nights a week and two weekends a month, as all of the fellows filled in for each other. A locus was hardly ever seen here.
A weekend consisted of 7 p.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Monday. How much must we ask of an individual?
During this time he had a young family that missed having him with them so he could serve others, often for things as simple as an earache or toothache at two or three in the morning.
This, along with the many nights where the physician would be at the hospital most of the night caring for a patient with a heart attack, a stroke or major motor vehicle accident then have to do his office in the morning.
There was no actual triage system so the physicians came for everything we called them for.
Now, with the triage system many things can be put off until morning or until the office the next day. A vastly different system!
Where is this community’s consideration for him or the physicians that faithfully served for many years?
Is it any wonder they all suffered burnout and felt the need to retire or give up call?
Both physicians in question could retire and leave us with next to no medical care, they are both at or above the age of retirement, but because they care, they continue!
There is room in this community for at least one or two more physicians, previously there was usually four or five and they all survived quite nicely!
Then maybe so many people would not have to seek medical care out of town!
The bigger question is why would a physician come here when he or she could go to a larger centre, often having to do no ER call and be able to live a civilized life.
Once Interior Health gutted this hospital many years ago the reasons for settling here became few.
It is difficult for a physician to keep up the skills required in ER without the operating room functioning, no labour and delivery, etc. We can all dream that these things will return, but it is totally unrealistic in health care today.
It’s time to say thank you for all the years of commitment of our physicians and come up with a new approach, not try to guilt these physicians into yet more service.
For my part I’ve worked as an RN at this hospital off-and-on since 1990.
I want to thank these two physicians as well as the ones now retired and gone for their exceptional service to this community and its people.