Editorial: Say it ain’t so, Rob

Go to your closet or your knickknack shelf, find your blue candle circa 1997, dust it off and prepare yourself.

For what, you ask?

The most important West Lincoln Memorial Hospital dialogue in 20 years…that’s what.

For starters, everything about this situation just plain sucks. Sorry, but it does.

Niagara West got screwed over and over by Kathleen Wynne’s non-responsive government making a bad situation (the physical plant at WLMH) even worse with time.

The people involved with Hamilton Health Sciences are good, conscientious people. This decision they seem to be leaning towards appears logical, if you look at the simple process of it and ignore much LARGER realities.

But I also think Dr. Gary Benson, in his letter of
resignation, hits the nail on the head when he notes that the decision-makers simply do not realize what crushing impacts this decision will have on the facility and the community.

This is not a big city where a hospital is just another big employer. Next to the tender fruit industry, which is responsible for about 50 per cent of Grimsby’s history, on a Niagara West scale, WLMH weighs in as a major piece of bedrock for its entire catchment area.

In speaking with HHS officials on Monday, their words were heard, digested and understood. It was difficult to comprehend how – in the name of maintaining proper levels of patient care and safety – an alternative solution could not be arrived at.

A physician who came into NewsNow’s office after the Monday meeting said the safety issue boils down, simply, to a humidity standard for maintaining sterility of mesh screens used for things such as hernia surgery. Now this may be simplifying a bit too much, but the point is, the decision to close ORs will effectively kill WLMH and push most of the staff away from the area. When the switch is turned back on in two-plus years, the resulting brain drain will have created the same kind of physician shortages the area experienced in the mid-1990s….remember that, when West Niagara municipalities were willing to pay docs to relocate here?

Yes, patient care and safety are paramount.

Not negotiable.

There are people at HHS much smarter than this writer. Surely, someone can come up with a creative solution to achieve the desired goals without  blowing up a treasured facility. Surely HHS officials must realize what the back-end impact of a two-year closure and loss of Obstetrics will do. It is not questioned if they care, so let’s get into this issue and resolve it in a professional, purpose-driven manner because what is proposed is –in every way – just as unacceptable as the purported justification of this tragic measure, any infringement on patient care and safety. M.W.

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