PEI

P.E.I.'s family doctor shortage leaves senior in limbo

A 70-year-old man and his wife say they felt left on their own when they were discharged from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital because they didn't have a doctor to follow up with.

Man says he mixed 'concoction of drugs' to ease pain until he could see doctor

Arch and Sherry Wilson do not have a family doctor. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

A 70-year-old man and his wife say they felt abandoned when they were discharged from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital because they didn't have a doctor to follow up with.

Arch Wilson of Howe Bay, P.E.I., was discharged from the QEH last month after being treated for pain in his leg from falling down six steps. He was given a prescription for morphine and instructions to see a family doctor again soon.

The problem is, the couple doesn't have a family doctor.

Wilson's wife, Sherry, said the clinic in Souris said it would be 10 days before her husband could see a doctor.

"I said, 'Well by that time, he will have run out of his painkillers. I'd like a prescription, I'm worried about his blood pressure, his feet were swelling up, his legs.' I just needed him to see somebody, but I got absolutely nowhere," she said.

Only certain walk-in clinics will prescribe narcotics, which made things more complicated for the couple.
The pair was eventually able to make an appointment with a doctor in Charlottetown who offered to see Arch.
But they spent the weekend combining what was left of Arch's morphine with whatever they could buy over-the-counter.

"We just kept mixing a concoction of drugs to keep the pain away," Sherry said.

Marilyn Barrett, director of Primary Care for Health PEI, said it's unfortunate that for those without a family doctor, fewer treatment options exist after being discharged from the hospital.

"If you don't have a family physician or nurse practitioner, then you would have to visit a walk-in clinic or an emergency room," she said.

Barrett said efforts are underway to recruit more doctors to the Island, and advises anyone without a family doctor to make sure they are on the patient registry.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now