Nfld. & Labrador

'It's gonna take someone's life': Springdale patients rally to support Dr. Todd Young

People in the Springdale area rallied Wednesday to pressure Central Health to grant hospital privileges to a local doctor who's back in practice, after serving a suspension.

Nothing personal in the decision, says Central Health in a statement Wednesday

Linda Rowsell was among dozens of patients and politicians who rallied in support of a Springdale doctor on Wednesday. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

People in Springdale and neighbouring towns rallied Wednesday to pressure Central Health to grant hospital privileges to a local doctor who's back in practice, after serving a suspension.

They say their health is being affected because Dr. Todd Young is not allowed to admit them, or do procedures that involve hospital facilities.

Patients rally outside Todd Young's Springdale medical clinic. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

Linda Rowsell was one of dozens who gathered Wednesday morning outside Young's clinic. She fears the inaction by Central Health is a costly gamble.

"It's ridiculous what they're doing to us," she said. "Because it's gonna take someone's life."

Politicians — including the mayor of Triton, the deputy mayor of Springdale, and the Liberal MHA for the region, Brian Warr — voiced support for Young.

"I guess our issue right now is with Central Health and we want to make sure the CEO Rosemarie Goodyear will give us the time to show her our support of Dr. Young," said Warr.

Young, who served a 19-month suspension for having a sexual relationship with one patient, and inappropriate contact — hugging and kissing — with another, reopened his clinic earlier this year and applied for hospital privileges.

Nothing personal 

Central Health issued a statement Wednesday afternoon saying it made a decision on Young's application and notified him on March 14.

"The process is handled in a wholly professional manner and personal feelings do not influence such decisions," wrote the health authority.

Dr. Todd Young is looking for his hospital privileges, and his patients are backing him. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

The statement said Young has not asked to discuss the decision, and stressed that "physicians do not require hospital privileges to work in a community practice."

Young said he wants to admit patients to the Green Bay Health Centre, for emergencies or palliative care.

"Because of the mistake that I have made, they [Central Health] feel that I still need to be punished," he said.

"The letter [from the health authority] actually suggests that there is concern that I would be a hostile person."

Want the right to choose

"I'm a cancer patient, and right now if I need to be admitted here in Springdale, Dr. Young can't treat me," said Springdale resident Kim Batstone.

"They're taking my right to be treated by my doctor away from me, and giving me a doctor of their choosing, not mine."

Kim Batstone and Dana Pynn say they have to travel to Grand Falls-Windsor to see another doctor if they need treatment in a hospital. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

Others are speaking out too. Dana Pynn had surgery several weeks ago and said she has to travel 106 kilometres from her home for follow-up treatment.

"I'm leaving here, Dr. Young's office, and going to Grand Falls to be admitted, 3 o'clock, under another doctor, something that Dr. Young would have taken care of here in Springdale," said Pynn.

"I've known Dr. Young all my life. He was my family doctor previous to this, and I want him to continue for the rest of my life."

She's not happy with Central Health.

"I think they failed us, majorly. I think this is a personal issue," said Pynn.

Eric Sharpe, who's from Harry's Harbour, has been a longtime patient of the man he calls "Dr. Todd."

"He had the little mistake and went away. We were so glad to have him back but now it's turned into a big fiasco with Central Health," said Sharpe.

"And we just don't understand. Why the big problem?"

Eric Sharpe has been a patient of Todd Young for five years, and says the doctor has paid for his mistakes. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

Sharpe called Young "an excellent doctor … We trusted him fully."

He said people like the fact that Young is from the area.

"It's really big, because most of the doctors we get in Springdale are only here for the short time."

Young said at the end of the day, he can make a living without hospital privileges, "but it falls short of what it means to practice medicine in a rural community like Springdale."