Retinal detachment is a well-known medical emergency. When it happens, the only option is to have surgery as soon as possible.
In November 2019, I had a retinal detachment. I was referred to a retina surgeon in Corner Brook to perform emergency surgery the next morning. My surgery was done on Nov. 13 in Corner Brook.
I was sent there only because the only retina surgeon in St. John's (Dr. James Whalen) was on vacation.
I came back the next day by road in a taxi. The emergency trip costed me close to $2,300. Government medical transport refunded only $614.
It is extremely difficult to get an appointment with Whalen simply because he is the only retina surgeon in St. John’s to deal with such issues and there is no backup.
I am sure many more people here in Avalon suffered or are suffering because Eastern Health did not hire another retina surgeon for St. John's.
Eastern Heath client relations told me they cannot find another retina surgeon.
According to The Medical Post December 2019 issue, ophthalmologists in Newfoundland and Labrador, on average, billed MCP close to a million dollars a year.
That is more than quarter of a million dollars more than an ophthalmologist makes in Ontario. In this situation if Eastern Health seriously wants (to hire them) many ophthalmologists should be willing to move to N.L. That will also help reduce cataract surgery queue in N.L.
It is a big shame living in such a place where you cannot get a retina surgeon for an eye emergency when needed.