All of those who are not working at the moment have a little more time these days to reflect on what is, what was, and what will be—and Dr. Roy Kirkpatrick is no different.
With elective surgeries on hold at the hospital in order to focus on COVID-19 preparedness, he’s got a little more time on his hands these days. He does wonder what the backlog of non-emergency surgeries will be like once the pandemic measures have been lifted, and he’s on a provincial committee that’s trying to figure that out.
“When you think about the whole province of Ontario and all the people with cancer, and the people who have heart troubles and need heart surgery, and people who need transplants… it’s a big deal and a lot smarter people than me are going to have to figure it out, that’s for sure,” he said, referring to non-emergency operations being put on hold at the moment.
Kirkpatrick has also been thinking quite a bit about the influx of seasonal residents and visitors to the area and referred to the fact that there are tradespeople refusing to service seasonal cottages as “radical”.
“It’s an interesting world we’re living in right now,” noted the Huntsville surgeon. He’s been circulating a poster put together by an affiliate group of medical students associated with the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada (SRPC), a national body made up of physicians in rural and remote communities. The students put together a rural travelers’ guide tip sheet advising people to think twice before camping or cottaging in rural areas and some dos and don’ts associated with the same.
(Download a PDF copy of the tipsheet here.)
“It’s good solid advice,” said Kirkpatrick, who is a member of SRPC, adding that the idea is to distribute it across the country where smaller seasonal communities may be in the same boat as Muskoka. He said people should be mindful that small hospitals may not have the resources that larger urban hospitals do at the best of times, and that consideration is particularly salient during a pandemic.
“I thought it just had good practical advice in it for people coming north and being sensitive to the local needs. It’s a great philosophical argument if somebody from down in the GTA has a place here and they’re paying taxes here, they have every bit as much a right to be here as I do. They probably pay more taxes than I pay. So, it’s not like we should be able to put a blockade across the road but if they’re coming, I thought there were some good pieces of practical advice for people coming. It’s common sense… but when we’re under stress sometimes we forget to use common sense,” he said.
“I think if I lived in the GTA and had a cottage here, I would feel that I had a right to come. I don’t challenge that, but that’s just my personal view,” he said, adding that passions do become inflamed during circumstances such as these, “and it’s hard to know what the right thing to do is.”
Don’t miss out on Doppler!
Sign up here to receive our email digest with links to our most recent stories.
Local news in your inbox three times per week!