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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: A response to 'My illness worked in my favour'

Letter to the Editor
Letter to the Editor

DIGBY, N.S. – I read with incredulity, amazement and puzzlement your article on Mr. Gavel’s success  in being matched with a doctor in Digby once Dr. Bander retired from his large practice.

I continue to pinch myself to be sure I am reading the text on offer here. Am I to believe that in 2018, in one of the richest countries in the world, a patient in need of care, and who is matched to a doctor, has achieved something akin to a miracle?

Perhaps something divine has truly happened. Perhaps not, given that the patient was on the 811 list for 10 months.

Miracles are slow in the making. In rural Nova Scotia most take much longer. I know of a good many seniors who have just given up and hope to find good care on the other side of life. Miracles, after all, result in this world from faith in beings beyond our immediate lives.

Looking closely at Mr. Gavel’s success we find ourselves staring at a photo of one of the legions of health care administrators whose job it is to communicate the good news from the health authority to the wary and weary citizens of this area. In another place and time, such functionaries were charged with keeping the trains running on time whilst the people suffered.

Here in rural Nova Scotia, we find ourselves being put in the position of having to sing the praises of a single patient to doctor match, of a single nurse practitioner landing her job in the valley, as if these things are indeed miracles of faith in a system that has at best a specious, weak and unimpressive track record in terms of delivering services to people in need.

Don’t get me wrong. When there is consent, match making can be a good thing. A scarce professional coming to work in the area is also a very good thing.

The puzzle remains as to how all this has come about. How have we been reduced to a dependence on the enactment of technocratic miracles, scarce as they are, in rural Nova Scotia?

Citizens have a right to timely and proximal medical care when they need it and relatively close to home. We might expect that the resources that have been removed from the health care system – a system that currently suffers a near billion dollar shortfall – be returned to make Nova Scotia truly competitive in attracting, and retaining professionals and improving services.

Meanwhile, I suppose we must congratulate Mr. Gavel on his success, and we need to continue to have faith in miracles.

Be aware though, miracles come slowly.

Tony Kelly,

Little River, Digby County

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