Informed opinions on health care, please


Sir: I continue to read Mr. Babbitt’s letters to every local media outlet on the local health-care issue and continue to be stunned by his uninformed statements and claims.

The latest suggestion that “closing the Wallaceburg ER will put thousands at risk” is particularly outlandish, inflammatory and just plain incorrect. The debate and dialogue about the distance between Wallaceburg, Walpole Island and the surrounding communities is one that is not only ridiculous but unfounded. Ask yourself: “is the death rate higher for those residents living in Blenheim, Ridgetown, Tilbury, or Erieau? Or what about residents of Amherstburg, LaSalle or Essex whose closest Emergency Department would be one of the downtown Windsor hospitals which could be 30 – 45 minutes away? Or other communities where just getting through traffic could take 30 minutes and you might be able to travel six city blocks!

In his last statement, Mr Babbitt notes: “The closure of the Sydenham Campus ER would represent a significant reduction in emergency health care access to over 20,000 citizens no matter how you try to package it.” Again, if we are talking about access for “emergencies,” which is defined as: a sudden, urgent, usually unexpected occurrence or occasion requiring immediate action,” then what Mr. Babbitt and the entire community should be advocating for is the very best emergency medical system possible.

A co-ordinated effort between ambulances, fire and hospitals that makes sure someone who is experiencing an emergency gets to the very best place for care, the very first time. No hospital, regardless of what location it’s in, will ever be in a position to provide emergency health access to those individuals that require immediate action; only mobile emergency services can do that!

Clearly the health-care debate sparks a lot of passion in individuals and communities, but logic and reason must also come to the debate every once in a while. It’s important for everyone who has a stake in this to be, or get, educated on what the issues are, what the facts and evidence shows, and begin talking about creating a sustainable, future model for health care across Chatham-Kent. The negativity will certainly never bring new dollars, doctors or ideas to our community.

Jane Havens

Chair, Public General Hospital




  1. Dear Jane,

    You refuse to meet with Sydeham Board. You canceled meetings. What do you care about what Doug Babbit says? Your uninformed views of SDH are irrelevant.

    Is it your intention to hire people to dig up dirt on Doug the way you did with Jeff Wesley? That will be tough. I know Doug well. He's Squeaky clean.

    But here's what you need to know. Most people in Wallaceburg I speak with are asking their family doctors to refer them to specialists in Sarnia. Eventually your specialists will begin to feel those consequences.

    And while it is true the law requires ambulances to take patients to Chatham ER, it is also true I can go to any ER I want by not calling an ambulance. I' will die on Highway 40 north in a car before I will take an ambulance on Highway 40 south to your hospital


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