A shot of the Cormorant Island Health Centre.

Photo Credit: Times Colonist

ER Closure on Cormorant Island and Folks Are Not Having It

This one will last every night for two weeks straight

On a small island, this is not good news

Are you getting used to news about hospital closures? Especially in NorthIsle? That’s probably pretty normal. Dealing with a situation as it’s handed to us is a good survival strategy.

But these closures should not be normalized. High-quality healthcare is a matter of freedom. How can we be free if we can’t get care when we’re sick or injured?

The only healthcare centre on Cormorant Island is closing from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. between Aug. 2 and 16. Cormorant Islanders have a lot to say about it. Folks took to Facebook with their thoughts on the situation.

“This is absurd and should never happen.”

“Where is all the workers??? Something needs to be done, closing all the emergency and urgent care centres is unacceptable.”

“Fix this situation NOW!! It is so unsafe. 😠😡

These are just a few comments pulled off a single Facebook posting on the ER closure. There are thousands more with similar feelings.

And folks have a right to be upset. That includes people who work in healthcare, one of whom posted this:

“It’s not just the Drs that are short. We are short nurses , lab techs, ecg techs etc. We all work together to make it happen. We are trying to do our best with the staff that show up.”

On a small island with only one hospital, a closure means residents will have no emergency care. They’ll need to leave Cormorant for help.

“Anyone experiencing a medical emergency should call 911 or, if possible, proceed to the nearest Emergency Department,” said Island Health.

The health authority says it has a plan in place with BC Emergency Health Services to transport people to alternate sites if a medical emergency happens during this two-week period.

But they did not spell out the details of the plan.

Cormorant Island residents won’t be the only ones experiencing closures, either. Anyone who uses the Chemainus Health Care Centre should expect an inconsistent operating schedule all this month as well.

Of all the comments we saw on the issue, this one summed it up:

“If we don’t have enough staff, you can’t stay open and run a good ER. They are doing the best they can. If you haven’t noticed many places are having to run with short staff, this is a problem. No easy answers.”

No easy answers, indeed.

But we still need to examine what our leaders are truly doing to address this situation.

Besides, you know, saying it’ll take time. We already know that.

But when the emergency room is closed, time isn’t something we have.