Muskoka To-DAILY

Health care and history collide this week at 5 public meetings across Muskoka

Mark Clairmont |

MUSKOKA – With the perspective of the past two weeks of historic mayhem on both sides of the border, Muskoka is in the throes of a health-care debate that deserves a little history lesson of its own.

Should this statue for Dr. Norman Bethune come down? Or be relocated to the 'Birthplace of a Hero?'

Should this statue for Dr. Norman Bethune come down? Or be relocated to the ‘Birthplace of a Hero?’

Gravenhurst was home to two hospitals decades before Bracebridge and Huntsville became the dominant players in the field.

Native son Dr. Norman Bethune spent time at “The San” TB hospital, before going on to international fame and glory in China, where is deified – and only begrudingly in his hometown.

Which first begs the question, should his statue in the heart of his hometown be removed to the “Birthplace of a Hero,” the National Historic Site on John Street?

After all the talk about Sir John A. Macdonald’s monuments being torn down and replaced by other more worthy current community leaders and politicians like Justin Trudeau (and not his dad), there was mention of Tommy Douglas.

The father of Canada’s proud medicare system (take that Trump) was shortly touted for statuesque treatment.

But his past dalliances with eugenics has ruled out our most respected Canadian, according to a 150 poll last year.

And so, do Bethune’s open history with tippling and womanizing warrant a toppling of his head off Muskoka Road?

Here, to paraphrase MP Tony Clement’s comments on Macdonald: “Hands off Dr. Bethune.”

All this is context to five days of discussions this week – starting Monday night in Gravenhurt – on the future of hospitals and overall health care in Muskoka in the decades to come.

And which could – if we wanted and do – bring us back to the Bethune, TB, China and the Muskoka Centre, now being pitched by the town of Gravenhurst as a Chinese high school.

Odd, though, isn’t it that Gravenhurst’s official voice in the hospitals debate is about as obvious as a hidden cancer.

That aside, Muskokans must dig in to the facts and figures, and put aside the too often, too usual petty politics that have stymied growth district-wide to do what’s right for patients, people and taxpayers.

Somewhere in those millions of dollars and tens of thousands of visits is the true price of what’s going on.

Follow the money it is said.

There is a belief – rightly or wrongly as with most things – that move is afoot behind the scenes to manipulate the process one way or another.

It’s big business. Is it probable? It’s possible – probably likely.

And that it began not too short a number of years ago with the appointment Natalie Bubela’s appointment as head of South Muskoka Memorial Hospital and eventually Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare.

Add into the mix the LHIN (Local Health Integration Network) and now Muskoka Health Link, and the latest Muskoka and Area Health System Transformation (MAHST) review committee.

Everything’s on the cross-the-board operating table – from Band-aid solutions to open heart surgery, hip, knee, ER and infrastructure replacements.

Everyone has a hand in the mix – or should.

So should you.

Don’t be dazzled by charts and graphs this week, step back and ask that hard questions.

Are our hospitals and workers doing the job they are intended to do?

If so, fine, tweak, fine tune, be tough.

If not what do you want?

More home care, one great hospital you may have to travel further too?

So what’s wrong with Port Sydney?

Most Muskokans now travel good, serious, life-or-death distances to get care they expect.

Like an election, without getting out and having your say now, you shouldn’t complain after en route to to hospital(s) – or the new hospice out in Port Carling.

Otherwise you deserve the health choices you make on a daily basis for the next 150 years.

Good luck, we’ll all need it.

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Posted by on Aug 27 2017. Filed under Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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