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Storm clouds on the horizon for ‘This House of Healing’

Alan R Capon

Alan R Capon

There are storm clouds brewing on the horizon. Quinte Healthcare is forecasting a 12 million dollar deficit and once again PECMH is on the radar with respect to more cuts. The next meeting of the QHC board of directors is Tuesday at 5:15 in the board room.

It is my hope that when the opportunity presents itself this community will stand up for their hospital and not be afraid to speak up.

Over the years, journalist, author and historian Alan R Capon chronicled the fights for our hospital. Following the news that he passed away last week at age 82, I choose to remember one of his many gifts to the people of Prince Edward County – a history of their local hospital  titled “This House of Healing”.

Al wrote this book in 1997 while recovering from a heart attack. His wife Margaret tells me that it helped with his recovery.
In this extremely well researched book, he takes his readers from June 8, 1908, when the motion was made by the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire “To contribute all entertainment money to establish a County Hospital.” The sum of $10,429.93 was eventually raised. The original hospital opened in 1917 in a small house on Hill St. The “new ” and present hospital opened in 1959.

In his introduction of his book Mr. Capon  states “one common denominator linking the two hospitals is the never-ending community involvement.” He goes on to say “Because the majority of these books will be sold to and hopefully read by, Prince Edward County people, as many local names as possible have been included, particularly in the record of the earlier years. Many residents will find their parents, grandparents and even great-grandparents have been involved in one way or another with the creation of this vital community institution.”

In the next 200 plus pages he goes on to give his readers an amazing history of their local hospital. If you are fortunate enough to own a copy of “This House of Healing ” hold on to it as this book is no longer in print. I know that over the last 15 years I have found it an invaluable source of information when writing about our “Jewel in the Crown” PECM Hospital. I have had many conversations over the years with Al  and I can tell you he was very proud of our local hospital and did not like what was happening to it.

His wife Margaret Haylock Capon said that during Alan’s 10 weeks in hospital she learned several important things. “First and foremost the quality of care offered at Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital should be a source of tremendous pride to our community. My husband’s nurses were all outstanding. I will always remember their dedication and compassion and will never forget the special kindness of nurses Travis and Brenda on the day Alan died.”

This is exactly why PECMH  placed first last year in a patient care survey that included 140 hospitals.

On a personal note it was never lost on me that even though for the last 15 years the staff at our local hospital had the fear of constant service cuts hanging over their heads they went about doing what they do best, looking after patients.

I personally feel we were honoured to have a journalist and historian the calibre of Alan R. Capon in this County. His wife Margaret’s hope is that her husband will be remembered for his enthusiasm for local history and his lifelong dedication to preserving it. He will be remembered in the true sense as a gentleman and a scholar.

Also, on a final note, because Al was very involved with the Loyalist Humane Society donations are welcome in his memory. You may do so at Loyalist Humane Society, P.O. BOX 6108, Picton ONT. K0K2T0

Fran Renoy, Picton

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