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Chesley Needs 24/7 Emergency Services

For almost a whole year now the residents of Chesley and the surrounding area have endured the
problem of an ER in our local hospital that is open only during business hours on weekdays. In addition,
it continues to experience additional closures on an almost weekly basis. During that time, I have had
the privilege of working alongside many other Chesley residents who are fighting to keep our hospital
viable and who have been demanding that the government and the board return our hospital to full
time 24/7 ER services.

Often, in discussing the issues that arise from having only part time ER services, I finished my remarks by wishing people well and advising them, a bit tongue in cheek, that where possible they should plan to have their medical emergency or accident during business hours on weekdays when the ER is open. And then it happened…my brother, also a resident of Chesley, had a major heart attack last week…at 4 p.m. on a weekday.

The Chesley ER was still open for the day at the time and local EMT’s got him to the hospital quickly. The staff in the emergency room started anticoagulants and stabilized his condition while also connecting by computer with a cardiologist at St Mary’s in Kitchener. They arranged to transport him there for emergency surgery. Within a few hours he was recovering from surgery in ICU, and we were able to connect with him.

First of all, as a family, we want to thank the Healthcare professionals on duty in the ER at the time and
the EMT’s who transported him safely for the surgery. They saved his life. With a major heart attack, had
the ER been closed, it is most likely he would not have survived a drive down the highway to another
hospital. In that situation every minute is precious and there is no time for delay. Likewise, we need to
thank the staff in the Kitchener hospital who wasted no time in life saving surgery and who provided
caring, compassionate assistance in a frightening situation.

But here’s the thing….everyone in our community and in small and rural communities throughout this
province should have the comfort of knowing that they and their loved ones can have the benefit of ER
services when they are needed, that life threatening medical emergencies can be treated locally within a
safe time frame whenever they happen, and that those necessary services should be available around
the clock. Yet, here in Grey Bruce, the fight continues…and it goes on and on.

Locally, the South Bruce Grey Board of Directors needs to provide more information to residents. The
CEO should hold community meetings to explain to residents what is being done to alleviate this
intolerable situation. It is not sufficient to say information is on their website; many people do not have
access and it does not afford an opportunity to ask questions and to ask for clarification.

And we need to continue to fight provincially for the services we need, services we used to have and
used to be able to rely on. In September the Ontario Health Coalition is holding a major protest or rally
at Queen’s Park at noon on the 25th,the first day the legislature will resume after the summer break.
There will be representatives from all over the province and small and rural hospital communities will
have a prominent role to play. Chesley has had the most ER closures of any other community in the
province and should have a strong showing on that day along with others from Grey Bruce. Come with
us to Queen’s Park to demand better…to let the government know we need 24/7 ER in Chesley. We are
organizing buses to take people down for the day. For more information or to reserve a spot on a bus
call me at 519 363 6306 or Hazel Pratt at 519 363 2991.

Brenda Scott, Chesley Ontario
Co-Chair: Chesley Hospital Community Support Committee
Co-chair: Grey Bruce Health Coalition

2 thoughts on “Chesley Needs 24/7 Emergency Services”

  1. Thank you for taking time to underline the importance of ER services. Fortunately, my medical situation was not as serious as the one you describe, however, I endured incredible pain for hours due to our own ER being closed and a severe winter storm preventing me from traveling to Hanover or Owen Sound for assistance. You do think about the importance of the ER when you are writhing in pain, don’t know what is wrong, and have no choice but to live with the pain. Someone is going to lose their life due to the ER closures. In this litigious age, I will not be surprised to see a huge lawsuit follow the loss of life.

    1. Thanks for your comment Herb. Sorry you had that terrible experience and you are right in saying it that someone will lose their life due to the ER closures. If you are able to come we are working with the Ontario Health Coalition to go to Queen’s Park on September 25th to protest the state of the healthcare portfolio and demand attention to our issues. We are organizing buses now if you, or someone you know, would like to come. 519 363 6306
      Brenda Scott

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