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Thoughts on Losing Our Hospital

Quality of life is supposed to improve with technological advances, but that doesn’t seem to be happening with our local hospital. I was born in the old Picton Hospital, now Quinte Manor on Hill Street. Dr. Richmond removed an infected appendix there when I was five years old, and seven years later, Dr. Publow removed my tonsils. There was never any question as to whether or not I would have a bed; it was presumed one would be there and there was no delay in getting me into the hospital and I was released each time when they felt it was time to do so. With the newer Prince Edward County Hospital, we seem to have lost something along the way, and it is sad. It is sad because our population has grown, our population has aged, and in summer our population burgeons to a half million as a result of the popularity of Sandbanks. Now, when we need a hospital the most, eight beds are being moved to Belleville General Hospital, leaving only 16 to accommodate a county of some 24,000 residents and a summer population of some 500,000. As the editor of the Wellington Times asked in his editorial last month, if BGH is successful in pulling eight more beds out of Prince Edward County Memorial—how long will it be before they are back looking for the remaining 16? Without a hospital, like the one I remember so fondly when I was growing up, what reason does anyone have for wanting to continue living in Prince Edward County, and what reason does anyone have for wanting to move here? Ralph Margetson of Melville summarized it quite succinctly when he said, “Our hospital will slowly fade away – until it is only a memory.”  Must we keep on fighting for something as basic and necessary as a hospital while money that could ensure its continued existence continues to be squandered on nonessentials?

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About the Author: Terry Sprague became interested in nature at an early age. "Growing up on the family farm at Big Island, 12 miles north of Picton, on the shore of the beautiful Bay of Quinte, I was always interested in the natural world around me. During my elementary school days at the small one-room school I attended on Big Island, I received considerable encouragement from the late Marie Foster, my teacher in Grades 6 through 8. Her home was a short distance from where I lived and through the years she was responsible for developing my interest in birds. The late Phil Dodds, a former editor with the Picton Gazette, also a great nature enthusiast, suggested I undertake a nature column - a column I have submitted weekly since 1965. The column has since expanded to the Napanee Beaver and the Tweed News. Life has been good, and through the years I have enjoyed working with such nature related agencies as Glenora Fisheries Research as a resource technician, Sandbanks Provincial Park as a park interpreter and Quinte Conservation as a naturalist and outdoor events coordinator. As a nature interpreter, currently working from my home office, I now create and lead numerous interpretive events in the area and offer indoor audio/visual presentations to interested groups. Could one who is interested in nature have enjoyed a more exhilarating period in the work force?" Terry's website is

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  1. Doris Lane says:

    You are correct Terry, we can not afford to lose our hospital. Why has it been allowed to get this far? We should never have joined QHC. There are more reasons every day why people will not want to live In PEC and the hospital is just one of them.
    Come on people do something about it before it is too late.

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