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Vitalité accused of silenced doctors and controlled public messages in COVID-19

The Vitalité Health Network has been accused of silencing doctors and controlling public messages under the rule of incoming President and CEO Gilles Lanteigne.

A criticism by a former health caretaker and former director after regional health officials issued a withdrawal statement last week on behalf of a doctor who had expressed concern about prevention and control protocols for COVID-19 units at Campbellton Regional Hospital. That is.

“You have to admit that you seem to have forced her to be withdrawn,” said Dr. Louis-Marie Simard, president and chief executive officer of the former Beautéjour Health Authority before the Vitalite era.

“If it’s done, twisting your arm is certainly not good business practice,” he said.

“As far as I can remember, what I’m preaching is what I did… everyone in the organization wasn’t afraid the government would slam them on his wrist if he spoke. think.”

After last Thursday, Dr. Vona MacMillan, a family doctor based in Charlo, 30 km east of Campbellton, tested Radio-Canada with 10 staff positives, and she was at COVID-19 at Campbellton Hospital. “I was a little nervous,” he said in the unit. Respiratory disease.

She requested Vitalité to allow staff to wear N95 masks when treating patients with COVID positives, regardless of the procedure being performed.

By 4:20 pm Friday, Vitalite issued a statement saying “wish” that Macmillan should withdraw her comment and apologize.

Dr. Vona MacMillan called for wider use of N95 masks by Campbellton Hospital staff treating COVID-19 patients. (Serge Bouchard/Radio-Canada)

In Simard’s view, such control of public messages is dangerous to democracy and to patient confidence in the healthcare system.

“People know that doctors can be threatened, [forced] to withdraw. When I go to the doctor in his office, I have a condition that can affect the public, and my doctor tells me a story and looks uncomfortable, I Can you trust? “He said.

“Health is a personal system. When talking to a health professional, I must be 100% sure that he is trying to do my best in my case.”

Public health must be transparent

Simard recognizes that certain laws need to establish a say. “I have the right to speak, but not to lie, to reveal intimate or personal information. I have a framework.”

But he also pointed out that Vitalite relies on the public health-funded Ministry of Health.

“When we talk about medical services, it must be transparent because it is a public service, publicly paid and publicly controlled.”

Lanteigne defended MacMillan’s case, saying he had no muzzle. He said he was the one who decided to withdraw her statement.

Can someone talk to the media? Of course they can speak.-Villeité President and CEO Gilles Lanteigne

“She has considered that patients are safe, the Restigouche is well equipped, as a result of a review to recognize that the standards and procedures established by Canadian Public Health and New Brunswick Public Health are appropriate, and Vitalite Health Network policies and procedures,” he told reporters during the questioning period at the Vitalite Annual Meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

“I decided to do it myself. She is an adult. She decided to talk.”

Lanteigne said Vitalité has a policy about who (as with most organizations) can speak on behalf of the organization.

However, about 7,400 doctors and medical staff are considered “ambassadors”.

“Anyone can talk to the media? Of course they can. They are doing it… [a] Civilians.”

“When there are people who work for us, we both respect them and both expect us to comply with their policy code and their ethical framework that guides their profession. There is an obligation on the part,” he added.

“I was not allowed to talk to the media.”

Norma McGraw Resigned in February As vice-chairman of the Vitalité Health Network’s board protesting health reform plans, she said she wasn’t surprised to hear about the MacMillan case.

“We weren’t allowed to talk to the media, and that’s for sure… we weren’t allowed to ask employees to find out how they were or how they were serviced. These were things we shouldn’t have done,” she added, managing information within senior management to ensure a consistent message.

Norma McGraw resigned as Vice Chairman of the Board in February last year, publicly denying Vitalité’s allegations of a private vote on the nightly closure of emergency rooms in six small hospitals. (Radio Canada)

But Mr McGraw said he regrets that the doctor who expressed his legitimate fear appeared to be silent.

“This doctor, if she crossed the communication channel, she felt crazy… it was a cry of alarm. Did you hear it? I don’t think so. Otherwise, there would have been no “withdrawal.”

The three frontline caregivers working on the COVID-19 unit are safe from last week’s CBC News on current personal protective equipment protocols, especially those that allow the use of N95 masks only for airborne procedures. He said he didn’t feel like it.

Hospitals always wear masks, but not N95 masks.

Employees said staff refused to provide additional protection when treating COVID-19 patients, and a lax protocol creates a risk spread throughout the hospital.

Employees feared bringing the virus back to vulnerable families and asked Vitalité for a change.

As of Wednesday last week, 10 employees of the Campbellton Regional Hospital tested positive for COVID-19 and 31 were self-isolated.

One of the positive cases was determined to be a false positive over the weekend, according to Lanteigne.

About half of the 40 employees affected are expected to return to work by Friday, he said.

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