Save our Paediatrician's job!

Save our Paediatrician's job!

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Candice Servatius started this petition to Health Minister Adrian Dix

I am writing this letter to you regarding the issue of unvaccinated doctors not being allowed to practice medicine and not allowed to practice medicine in local hospitals. Specifically, I am writing in support of a Doctor in our small-town Dr. Chris McCollister our paediatrician who has faithfully served this community since 1997 as he is no longer able to work in our local hospital.

I have had the privilege of working with Dr. McCollister for about 15 years now as he is our children’s pediatrician. He is a precious resource to our community and has helped and supported hundreds of families in our community.  As we are a smaller community every single doctor we have is needed. It is a challenge to get specialists and doctors interested in moving to a remote place like Port Alberni. We have a serious lack of doctors as it is and not allowing an excellent doctor like Dr. McCollister to practice medicine in our hospital is a big mistake that will have many negative impacts on our community.

The effects on this community will be far reaching. I am not fully aware of all that Dr. McCollister’s job entails but there are a few areas that I can speak to that will have a big impact.

1.      The effect on babies and c-sections in our town will be devastating. Dr. McCollister has attended so many c-sections as all emergency c-sections require a pediatrician be present. I know this to be true as Dr. McCollister was at 2 of my 3-emergency c-sections.  He is needed in many births as we do not have a nursery or neonatal intensive care unit in our small hospital. Dr. McCollister is the specialist that is able to give life saving measures in more complex cases.

My family has personally experienced how important it is to have Dr. McCollister present when babies are born, and they are struggling. My daughter was born prematurely and needed assistance breathing. Dr. McCollister was present at the emergency c-section and played a big part in her care for the first couple of days. Without his support she would not have been able to remain at the hospital with me and would have been sent off to a bigger hospital that is an hour away. I am so thankful that due to his excellent care and support she could safely stay with us and that allowed us time to bond with her.

2.      The effect on youth and mental health will also be far reaching as Dr. McCollister has helped many families that are struggling with these mental health issues.

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, “1 in 7 young people in BC (14%) will experience mental illness. Many mental illnesses 50%-70% show up before the age of 18 and can have a huge impact on development.” These are very sobering statistics and there are many youth and children that will be affected in Dr. McCollister’s absence. The CMHA also states that “If (mental illness) not treated early, it can be disruptive enough to a kid’s normal development that it can affect them for the rest of their lives”. Mental illness does not discriminate it “affects kids and teens from all family types and cultural backgrounds”.

3.      We will be losing an excellent advocate and support for families and children.

I have seen firsthand Dr. McCollister’s support and advocating skills for families in our community. Before our son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, I had been to another doctor in town regarding the challenges we were facing. I was told that I was the problem and that I needed to take some parenting courses and learn how to give a time out. I left there feeling devastated, defeated and very upset. I knew that the doctor was not correct. I am a good parent and was working with my son to get him the help he needed. I was then referred to Dr. McCollister and I was met with compassion and care that I did not experience previously. He listened and validated my concerns and worked with our family to get my son the help he needed. It is because of Dr. McCollister that my son was able to get his diagnosis which helped us get the much-needed resources to support him in his development.  I wish I could say our experience was isolated, but I know for a fact that many have experienced similar doctor’s appointments that shamed parents and did not listen or support the family. Even the CMHA website says: “Unfortunately, only 1 in 4 kids and teens in Canada who need mental health treatment can get it. One reason this is true is because parents may worry about being blamed for their child’s change in behavior or worry about what treatments may be tried”.

Navigating the health care system can be exhausting and frustrating especially when you are experiencing issues at home with your child’s health and well being. I have experienced how much of a difference good quality care can make in a child and in the whole family’s life.  Dr. McCollister has always shown excellence in support, advocating, and caring about our children and the issues they face daily. We are so very grateful for his support. He has had an incredible impact on our family and so many others.

These are just a few of the ways that not having this amazing doctor will impact our whole community. Not having Dr. McCollister able to practice and provide excellent care to our community will create many barriers that I believe we can not even fully understand the scope of yet.

Island Health’s vision is stated: “Excellent health and care for everyone, everywhere, every time”. Their purpose is: “To provide superior health through innovation, teaching and research and a commitment to quality and safety-creating healthier, stronger, communities and a better quality of life for those we touch”.

My question to you is: how this decision to not allow excellent doctors to practice in a community that has very few resources, lines up with your vision and purpose? Not allowing specialists that are excellent at their job and have helped and supported so many families is not making our community healthier, stronger, and creating a better quality of life.

Thank you for your time and consideration of this matter.

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At 7,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get a reaction from the decision maker!