Public Values

Rural Ontario hospital cuts will cost lives, residents charge

Province's move to consolidate emergency health care in urban centres creates outcry.

 Rural area hospital users want Dalton McGuinty to think again about making cuts at their hospitals TORONTO, April 30, 2009 — About a thousand demonstrators outraged over cuts at Ontario hospitals descended on the front lawn of the provincial legislature Wednesday to demand that Premier Dalton McGuinty save local health services.

Emergency rooms are shutting down and hospital staff are being cut to balance hospital books, which is putting people's lives at risk, the protesters charged.

Laurie Kolipinski, 48, said her child would have died five years ago if her local hospital in Fort Erie, Ont., didn't have an ER.

Her son, then nine years old, was rushed to hospital after blacking out. Doctors later discovered that he had a congenital heart disease that was blocking his aorta, depriving his body of much-needed blood.

If her husband had been forced to drive 30 or 45 minutes to get to another hospital, her son probably wouldn't have survived, she said.

"That's what I'd like to tell Mr McGuinty: Have you ever sat in an ambulance and looked back at your son on a respirator?" said Kolipinski, who took the day off from her job as a restaurant manager to attend the rally.

"Have you ever been at an ICU and watched little kids that are so sick and that need help? How could anyone ever, ever close a hospital?"

McGuinty, who was assailed in the legislature with angry questions about the cuts, said his government isn't closing hospitals or trying to dismantle local health services.

Plans to "consolidate" emergency rooms in the Niagara area, including Fort Erie, are really about pooling resources to create a centre of excellence, he argued...

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  Demonstrators demand that Premier McGuinty stop hospital cuts, by Maria Babbage, the Canadian Press, April 30 2009

Posted: May 07, 2009

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