Sitting in the Emergency Ward at the Carleton Place & District Memorial Hospital



I spent the greater part of the afternoon parked on a seat in the emergency waiting room of the Carleton Place Hospital. No, I was not ill, but someone in my family was. I hear some complain about the lengthy wait in our hospital–or they would rather go to Almonte. After sitting there for a few hours I was amazed what goes on in our hospital, and how much they do with so little staff and less resources than other places.

The first thing I noticed was you need a “tough” skin, and have to be able to deal with patients who might not be as appreciative as they should be. I got to have a nice long conversation with our Beckwith Fire Chief, Bill McGonegal, and meet Rosemary Jones who is now in charge of fund raising for the hospital. You couldn’t do that in a busy Ottawa Hospital. In fact have I have waited for almost 6 hours in emergency at one of those “city hospitals” after being rushed by ambulance from the Carleton Place Hospital.

Some of the nurses and doctors that work in the Carleton Place Hospital have started from the bottom. There is a “family” feel to the place, and most of the staff have a much wider range of responsibilities then they would in a larger hospital. Watching these folks work it didn’t take long for me to realize they deserve so much more. Did we give up our “power” years ago by relinquishing the obstetrics unit to Almonte? Probably so–but you can’t cry over spilled milk now.

What is maddening is that the provincial funding process is highly flawed, and subject to manipulation behind the scenes. The province is coming to a head over whether to spend billions renovating and rebuilding dozens of aging hospitals, or face the political consequences of closing some forever.

The trend now is to try to reduce traffic at hospitals in favour of primary care and home care. Good idea? Maybe, but in my mind we have a ways to go when it comes to people being at home when very ill. Some results could be poorer health, or perhaps even death. I have experienced it first hand, and things need to change in palliative care.

Carleton Place is now impacted by an aging hospital. Many rural health facilities are now more integrated, with ambulatory care, public health, home care, and other services housed in the same structure as the acute-care in-patient units. In case you didn’t realize it, we now have a health care hub in our community.

If they decided to close our hospital it would have a huge impact in our community. So, before you complain again about the service in our Carleton Place Hospital, sit down and watch what really goes on. I did today and wondered how much more the province can keep cutting funds to our hospitals. But then again, maybe you are right to complain about slow service. Of course you are right, rural people don’t need healthcare. Or do we?




About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

2 responses »

  1. Pleasure meeting you Linda, thank you for your kind words about the hospital. I am amazed everyday at the excellent care provided by the CPDMH staff and volunteers. We are blessed to have this small but mighty community hospital at our service 24/7 365 days a year!


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