N.B. government playing politics with trauma system: former patient
The man whose case sparked a review of provincial trauma services is criticizing the ongoing delays in setting up a new trauma network in New Brunswick.
Donald Thomas was involved in a head-on collision in Shippagan three and a half years ago and the problems surrounding his treatment prompted an external review of the province's trauma services.
He said the provincial government has had long enough to set up a new system, but is now bogged down in playing politics as it selects its first trauma chief.
"It is very disgusting and disappointing that the government plays politics with the lives of people. I would urge them to get on with the system and to establish a full and complete trauma system," Thomas said.
"If they don't do it, I expect to be elected next provincial election and I will see that the things that ought to be done, will be done."
Thomas's comments come after one of the candidates being considered to head the new system withdrew his application.
The only other candidate for the job, a Quebec doctor, is to be interviewed by the trauma system advisory committee on Thursday.
Language played role in application withdrawal
Dr. Andrew Trenholm has said language was one of the reasons he pulled out of the hiring process.
Trenholm, who is among 25 trauma specialists in Canada, has said his ability in French met the original job requirement but the standard was subsequently raised so he didn't qualify.
Thomas said it's unfortunate that language is becoming an obstacle to hiring the head of the trauma system.
"I didn't care what language he spoke, as long as my life was saved and they have done it in Saint John. What difference does it make? Linguistic issues should have no play whatsoever in health care," Thomas said.
"It is the people that are more able to save people's lives, to prolong people's lives, and to give people that are caught with health problems the best quality of life possible."
Thomas credits Trenholm and his team at the Saint John Regional Hospital with saving his life after he suffered multiple serious injuries in the crash, including a broken neck.
After his accident in the Acadian peninsula, Thomas was transferred to the Bathurst hospital, but doctors there felt he needed more advanced care. It took hours for the trauma centre in Saint John to agree to take him and that came after another hospital was contacted first.