When will the healthcare crisis on Northern Vancouver Island be fixed? It’s a reasonable question that seems harder to answer by the day.
Dr. Alex Nataros, who will soon be the only emergency room doctor in Port Hardy, isn’t waiting for answers. Instead, he’s taking his SOS on healthcare in the NorthIsle to social media.
Nataros is directly asking for more help, offering to pay for it himself, and calling for the resignation of one of his bosses. He’s taken these concerns to Twitter.
On February 8, he tweeted: “I need help. We need help. @adriandix let me hire a Physician Assistant #BCNeedsPAs. New leadership #IslandHealth needed #BenWilliamsMustGo.”
Dix is BC’s minister of health, and Dr. Ben Williams is Vancouver Island Health’s Chief Medical Officer.
Nataros doesn’t mince words. Neither, as we have reported, does his colleague, Dr. Prean Armogram, a family doctor in Port McNeill of 17 years.
Nataros’ tweet comes just a few days after also calling for Dr. Williams’ resignation on CFAX 1070, and offering to pay for help out of his own pocket.
Days after this public criticism, Island Health has disciplined Nataros for “the use of a therapy dog for palliative and long-term care patients,” according to Penny Daflos, a reporter with CTV News Vancouver.
As a result, Dr. Nataros’ emergency privileges have been suspended by the Vancouver Island Health Authority.
Dix was asked if the disciplinary action against Nataros was brought about because of public criticism.
“No, and that would never happen,” Dix told CTV. “When issues are brought forward, [Williams] has a duty to patients and everyone else on Vancouver Island to act on what he knows.”
It is unclear what, exactly, the issues with Nataros are.
This disciplinary action is capturing the attention of prominent members of BC’s media, such as Tamara Taggart, who also tweeted about the story.
CTV has also reported on evidence of the muzzling of healthcare workers. Workers who are trying to speak out about the quality of care and staffing issues, along with other concerns are told they are “in violation of respectful workplace policies.”
While Island Health, on the North Island, is in trouble, one of the only remaining doctors has now been suspended from the hospital.
At this point, it is hard to see the sense in the Vancouver Island Health Authority’s approach to rapidly deteriorating healthcare delivery in the NorthIsle.
What they seem to be doing is exposing how thin-skinned they are, when it comes to facing understandable questions and criticism about their leadership ability.
It’s their job to solve this crisis.
In the meantime, residents of Northern Vancouver Island continue to suffer under crisis healthcare conditions.