High stakes

Laura Singleton

Dear editor:
Last week, I sent a letter to the Riverside board of directors pointing out that the corporation has fallen short of providing adequate support for the Rainy River Health Centre in this period of manpower shortage.
Although Riverside is responsible for our hospital, the corporation has not provided any locum coverage to keep the hospital open while we look for a new doctor.
My husband, David, has managed to find three months’ worth of help, except for a week in November when he has decided to do call 24/7 to get us through. He can’t keep it up, and Riverside must be held responsible for the period after Dec. 23rd.
The consequences of a closure in Rainy River have the potential to be devastating medically and economically throughout the entire district.
I told Riverside that I would share my concerns publicly if we did not receive immediate and convincing assurances that the administration in Fort Frances would start doing a lot more work to prevent a major problem here. I also said that I would strongly prefer to leave the area, rather than see David go as unsupported as he has been.
Considering the seriousness of my concern, I would have expected to receive at least a phone call from at least one of the members of the board the following day (I would add that I do realize the members who are from Rainy River are entirely supportive and I didn’t expect to hear from them). We don’t have time to waste on this issue.
Well, I did not get any immediate response and I’m now sharing the gist of those concerns. People of this area should not rest easy, believing that their best interests are being looked after sufficiently by the hospital administration, and they would be well-advised to ask Riverside exactly what it intends to do to protect their welfare.
We will both carry on doing what we can if we are supported, but we can’t do it alone—and it’s completely unreasonable for us to be working harder on it than the people who are being paid to do it.
The stakes here are very high, and the official response to the problem to date has been nowhere near conscientious or effective enough.
Laura Singleton
Stratton, Ont.