Tara Noseworthy, a Cold Lake community member is expecting to deliver her second baby within the month of December but is being required to go out to Edmonton to deliver the child.
Tara says Cold lake has great doctors but there are just not enough of them.
“I assumed I would be giving birth at the hospital here in Cold Lake just like I did with my first son. But at the beginning of November, I started hearing rumors that there would be no anesthesiologists available in Cold Lake for the month of December.”
Not having an anesthesiologist available in December means all Cold Lake scheduled surgeries and pregnancies will have to be moved elsewhere.
The Cold Lake clinic said they would try to bring in outside help support but nothing panned out.
“At my last appointment with my doctor, she confirmed there is no anesthesiologist available for the month of December and I will have to go to Edmonton to give birth.”
“That started off a nightmare of being referred to different doctors in Edmonton. The first doctor I was referred to refused because their clinic was full. The second doctor didn’t actually get my referral so it took me a week of contacting my clinic and the clinic in Edmonton to make sure the referral had gone through”
These last couple of weeks have caused nothing but stress for the expecting mother and she knows she is not the only one struggling with this.
“I know I am not the only mom in Cold Lake dealing with this. I have talked to other women who are due this month and it is absolutely ridiculous what we have been put through here.”
Tara will have to go meet with the doctor on Wednesday and is unsure about what exactly will be said. She is worried that the doctor might get her to stay up in Edmonton which Tara says could pose a lot of problems as she is unsure where she will stay.
On the other hand, Tara is also worried about going into labor in Cold Lake as the drive to Edmonton takes a minimum of three and a half hours.
“What was supposed to be one of the most exciting times in our lives has become incredibly stressful and it is constantly up in the air as to what is going to happen.”
Tara believes this is not an issue with the vaccine mandates but instead the province’s inability to find a replacement for the anesthesiologists who took their vacation days.
Critic for LGBTQ2S+ and Women’s Issues, Janis Irwin, says there are not enough doctors in Cold Lake and Alberta in general.
“What should be a time of excitement and expectation, has been turned into a time of stress and risk.”
Janis says thanks to the UCP we are seeing doctor shortages right across the province and communities of all sizes.
- Lethbridge has seen 43 000 people have no access to the family doctor.
- Elk Point’s emergency room is closed Tuesdays and Thursdays.
- Red Dear has been sending surgery patients to Edmonton and Calgary because they were so packed and full.
“We have been raising the alarm for months about the impact of the UCP doctor shortage on expecting mothers and families.”
Janis has asked the UCP government about the doctor shortage but says they have failed to come up with any solutions.
NDP Health Critic David Shepherd says this is a crisis across Alberta.
Shepherd says 24 communities are reporting hospital service cuts due to staff shortages.
“We are already seeing Albertans like Tara have to leave their community to get basic levels of care.”
David Shepherd is worried Alberta might get to the point where Albertans might have to leave the province altogether to get the care they need.