Nfld. & Labrador

Putting safety first, Corner Brook medical couple sends children to grandparents in N.B.

As they prepare to deal with cases of COVID-19, two Corner Brook doctors have made a tough choice about their family.

Young daughters flown to Fredericton as married physicians prepare for impact of COVID-19

Doctors Aiden Brazil and Shanda Slipp say their daughters will stay with their grandparents for the 'foreseeable future,' while they work with patients who may have COVID-19. (Submitted by Shanda Slipp)

Two Corner Brook doctors have made the tough choice to send their children to live with their grandparents while they prepare to treat patients with COVID-19.

Family physician Shanda Slipp says she and her husband, Aiden Brazil, a lung specialist and intensive-care doctor, are at a high risk of being exposed to the highly infectious coronavirus because of the work they do. 

She said taking the children out of the family home seemed like the best option. 

"We know that we are going to be on the frontlines of this and likely called to step up. So that poses a risk to our family," she told CBC Radio's Newfoundland Morning

So if your job is to stay home, then you need to do that 100 per cent.- Shanda Slipp

Slipp, who is originally from New Brunswick, said they have family on the other side of the island who have helped out a lot but there is no one in Corner Brook the children could stay with.

On Monday, she flew with Alice, 7, and Evie, 5, to New Brunswick, where the children will stay with her parents just outside of Fredericton.

After Slipp said her goodbyes, she returned to Newfoundland and has been in self-isolation since then. 

Busy talking with patients from home, Slipp chats with the children a couple of times a day by online video. There have been some teary moments but for the most part the children are "thrilled."

"They are having an extended sort of summer camp," said Slipp.

"Having the time of their lives for the foreseeable future."

Evie, 5, and Alice, 7, are staying with their maternal grandparents in New Brunswick. (Submitted by Shanda Slipp)

Not a unique situation

While sending their children to live away may seem extreme, in these uncertain days, Slipp believes they are just one of many families across the province also making tough decisions.  

"You know whether people have been laid off or closed their businesses or [are] working on the front lines, I think you know, everyone is making a sacrifice and our family's story is no different or no more important than any others," she said.

The hard part of course if not knowing how long all this will last. To date there is only one case of COVID-19 in the Western Health region.

Like all health-care workers, Slipp said she and her husband are prepared to help people if more cases are discovered.

She said the quickest way for everyone to get back to their normal is to prevent the virus from spreading.

"Everyone has a job to do right now. So if your job is to stay home, then you need to do that 100 per cent," Slipp said.

"That's the only way that we can get through this … by working together and looking after each other and doing our part."

While it's hard being separated, Slipp says, 'We know they're going to have a great time and they're safe and well looked after.' (Submitted by Shanda Slipp)

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

About the Author

Cherie Wheeler is a Corner Brook radio producer working with CBC Newfoundland Morning.

With files from CBC Newfoundland Morning

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