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Editorial: Time for review

It’s time to evaluate all health services being offered in Labrador, because there appears to be serious concerns with this system.
It’s time to evaluate all health services being offered in Labrador, because there appears to be serious concerns with this system. —123RF Stock Photo

There are serious concerns in Nain this week about the death of a 14-year-old boy who was being treated for tuberculosis.

Richard Pamak, a member for Nain in the Nunatsiavut assembly, told The Telegram Monday evening the death shocked the community, especially since the teen had been receiving treatment for TB since November.

“The community is very concerned if the ongoing treatment programs, are they working?” he asked, adding it’s “totally unacceptable” that TB remains an issue in Nain.

“It opens up questions and concerns, for sure. Over the next few days, we’ll be getting more details on why this happened, but it’s going to be a tough sell by anyone to convince the community that TB is not rampant. … Three years ago, we lost a gentleman to TB, and from there, there was an outbreak, and the community called out for more to be done on TB. And now, three years later, we lose another. …

“If the autopsy shows it’s TB-related, and there was a lack of services provided, then the community will be very concerned, and will be looking to all levels of government and asking why did this happen, even with all the work that has been done over the past two years.”

Meanwhile, in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, an 81-year-old woman who broke her arm sat for 10 hours in emergency Friday night and left without being treated.

She went home and posted her experience on social media.

Her daughter suggested to the CBC that those posts are likely why her mother was seen quickly when she returned to the ER the next morning.

Labrador-Grenfell Health apologized for the woman’s delayed treatment and began an investigation.

Based on these incidents — plus calls for a Labrador-only health authority and complaints our journalists hear about wait times and lack of access to doctors and treatment in Labrador — the investigation should be broader.

It’s time to evaluate all health services being offered in Labrador, because there appears to be serious concerns with this system.

Such a review might identify areas for needed improvement, investment or innovation to make the system stronger for the people who rely on it.

Or perhaps a review would determine that the most recently reported incidents — while devastating — are anomalies and that the standard of care in the Labrador-Grenfell region is good and meets national standards.

Either way, the results and any required action taken might help restore public faith in the health system, a system which costs this province’s taxpayers millions of dollars.

Health Minister John Haggie and the Office of Citizens’ Representative recently announced separate reviews of the Central Health authority after concerns about health care surfaced in that region.

They should do the same for Labrador-Grenfell.

All people in this province deserve a system they can trust and depend on.

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