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Man demonstrates outside hospital over shortage of family doctors

Angela Murphy of Western Health spoke with Everest Howse while he was demonstrating outside Western Memorial Regional Hospital in Corner Brook on Tuesday.
Angela Murphy of Western Health spoke with Everest Howse while he was demonstrating outside Western Memorial Regional Hospital in Corner Brook on Tuesday.

CORNER BROOK, N.L. — Everest Howse has three months before the prescriptions for the medications he requires run out.

In those three months, the Steady Brook man is hoping for one thing: to find a family doctor.

Howse’s former doctor left the city last September, leaving him without a primary-care physician for the first time in his 59 years. In the time since, he’s been phoning and going to every doctor’s office around the city and Pasadena, trying to find someone to take him on as a patient.

Everywhere he goes he’s met with same answer: “Sorry.”

“That’s what they all say,” said Howse.  

Howse went public with his story in an interview with The Western Star in February, but feeling increasingly frustrated, he took another step on Tuesday to bring attention to his and the plight of many others.

With a poster saying people are tired of hearing doctors aren’t taking patients, he went to Western Memorial Regional Hospital and staged a one-man demonstration.

Howse said thinking about not having a doctor and his various medical conditions makes him “pretty sad.”

He knows he could go to the outpatients department, but said, “I try to stay away from there.”

People passing by him on their way to the hospital showed their support with words of “it’s so true,” with some giving him the thumbs-up.

Angela Murphy, director of medical services with Western Health, came out to talk with him.

She told Howse the administration of Western Health recognizes his concerns and the health authority is working on different ways of trying to recruit doctors. She said there have been some successes, and noted a couple of doctors are expected to start practicing here this summer.

“Really, we’d like everyone to have a family doctor,” said Murphy.

Howse replied with, “This is terrible. This is 2016, not the 1800s.”

Although more doctors are coming, he’s still worried he won’t be fortunate enough to get on their patient lists with so many people in need.

Howse planned to return to the hospital again this morning at 7:50 a.m.

In those three months, the Steady Brook man is hoping for one thing: to find a family doctor.

Howse’s former doctor left the city last September, leaving him without a primary-care physician for the first time in his 59 years. In the time since, he’s been phoning and going to every doctor’s office around the city and Pasadena, trying to find someone to take him on as a patient.

Everywhere he goes he’s met with same answer: “Sorry.”

“That’s what they all say,” said Howse.  

Howse went public with his story in an interview with The Western Star in February, but feeling increasingly frustrated, he took another step on Tuesday to bring attention to his and the plight of many others.

With a poster saying people are tired of hearing doctors aren’t taking patients, he went to Western Memorial Regional Hospital and staged a one-man demonstration.

Howse said thinking about not having a doctor and his various medical conditions makes him “pretty sad.”

He knows he could go to the outpatients department, but said, “I try to stay away from there.”

People passing by him on their way to the hospital showed their support with words of “it’s so true,” with some giving him the thumbs-up.

Angela Murphy, director of medical services with Western Health, came out to talk with him.

She told Howse the administration of Western Health recognizes his concerns and the health authority is working on different ways of trying to recruit doctors. She said there have been some successes, and noted a couple of doctors are expected to start practicing here this summer.

“Really, we’d like everyone to have a family doctor,” said Murphy.

Howse replied with, “This is terrible. This is 2016, not the 1800s.”

Although more doctors are coming, he’s still worried he won’t be fortunate enough to get on their patient lists with so many people in need.

Howse planned to return to the hospital again this morning at 7:50 a.m.

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