Ashley Stevenson, a mother of two, has lived in Kingston her entire life. She says she has a rare condition called Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, which gradually weakens the muscles and nerves, making it difficult to walk or stand for long periods of time.
In the fall, the Stevensons will lose their family doctor.
“If left untreated, my disease progresses rapidly. Eventually, I will pass it but with trying to fight it as it is and then without a doctor … it shortens life. Stevenson told OlxPraca.
A few weeks ago, Stevenson learned that her therapist, Dr. Diana Russell, would be leaving the province in October with the Kingston Health team.
OlxPraca contacted Russell for a comment, but he declined to be interviewed.
Hotel Due Hospital limits the number of patients in the Urgent Care Center due to staff shortages.
“My illness takes me early … from our two girls, that’s our fear,” says Stevenson.
She became a patient of Russell’s 13 years ago when her previous family physician retired. Like thousands of other Kingston residents, she is now being put on a waiting list for another family physician.
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“I’ve put my whole family on the waiting list and I’m calling and the doctors are full,” says Stevenson.
Andrew Chisolm has lived in Kingston for the past 10 years after moving from Nova Scotia to attend St. Lawrence College.
He says he has been on the waiting list for a family doctor for the past seven years.
“It makes me feel like I’m a burden on the system, which means, I feel like I am, like I’m just another number that has to be processed.”
Chisolm says he was only able to get his asthma diagnosed and treated through a study offered by Queen’s University.
“Clinical studies should not be performed to obtain primary medical attention or care,” he told OlxPraca.
Newly elected Liberal MPP Ted Hsu campaigned on the need to train and recruit more family doctors, as they retire or move on, especially as some 29,000 Kingstonians are currently without one.
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“I worry because you talk to people and they needed some operation or some test yesterday and it’s hard to say what you can do overnight,” Hsu says.
He adds that improving the situation means repealing Bill 124, which limits wage increases for nurses and health care workers. improving mental health support; and fast-tracking accreditation for internationally trained health professionals.
“All these little things that can be done quickly because we’re really in a crisis situation,” Hsu says.
With an illness causing her health to deteriorate rapidly, Stevenson says the only thing she can do now is to not be an orphaned patient for much longer after her doctor leaves in the fall. will
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