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Feelings run high at Our TMH information session

Signs and posters were put on display for attendees at Our TMH's public information meeting on Wednesday night. Photo by Brock Ormond, QNet News.

Signs and posters were on display for attendees at Our TMH’s public information meeting last week. Photo by Brock Ormond, QNet News.

By Brock Ormond [1]

TRENTON – Proceedings got heated and opinions were in abundance last week at a public information meeting held by supporters of Trenton Memorial Hospital.

A solid crowd packed Quinte West city hall for the meeting, in which members of the Our TMH [2] committee shared their plans and invited questions and comments.

The committee’s main goal is for Trenton Memorial Hospital to remain open and retain its key services for the residents of Quinte West.

Many at the meeting criticized cuts by Quinte Health Care [3] – the organization that oversees the region’s four hospitals – to services and funds at TMH. They also expressed concern about the movement of day surgeries and equipment to Belleville General Hospital [4], something that prompted Our TMH to start a petition in February to keep them in Trenton. According to Our TMH co-chair Mike Cowan, the committee has also contacted the provincial government to try stop the transfers.

Our TMH Co-Chair Mike Cowan speaks to the gathering at Quinte West City Hall Wednesday night.

Our TMH co-chair Mike Cowan speaks to the gathering at Quinte West City Hall. Photo by Brock Ormond, QNet News

Wendy Warner, the executive director of the Trenton Memorial Hospital Foundation, told the crowd that donations to the foundation paid for $1.2 million worth of the equipment that will get shipped to BGH. The items to be moved cost from $150,000 to around a quarter of a million dollars, she said.

Many in the crowd raised their hands, then went one by one to the microphone to express their displeasure. Much of the ire was directed at what one speaker called the “mess” of Belleville hospital and the long wait times there. There was also anger about Quinte West taxpayers’ money being put into medical equipment that won’t even be used in their own hospital.

Dwayne Foshay, a firefighter of 39 years, told how he suffered a stroke and instead of going right down the road to Trenton Memorial, was forced to go to BGH and wait on a gurney for over five hours.

“Our hospital is being robbed of its services,” Foshay said to rousing applause from the crowd. “What are we doing still going (to Belleville)?”

Our TMH vice-chairman John Smylie apologized to Foshay for what had happened to him.

“You certainly deserve better,” Smylie said.

Our TMH Board members from left to right: Evelyn Wilson, Sharon Urquhart, Betty Clost and Phil Wild. Photo by Brock Ormond, QNet News.

Our TMH board members, from left: Evelyn Wilson, Sharon Urquhart, Betty Clost and Phil Wild. Photo by Brock Ormond, QNet News.

Jessica Searle, who said she came to Quinte West with her family at a young age, said Trenton Memorial Hospital has always been there for her in times of need.

“The nurses and doctors there did an excellent job in helping me with my multiple bumps and bruises from playing basketball and climbing trees,” Searle said.

She decided to go into nursing herself, graduating with a degree two years ago, but has not been able to find consistent, full-time work locally due to cutbacks at Quinte Health Care, she said.

“I’m being forced to look to the U.S. and the north for other work, but I would rather stay local here in Trenton.”

TMH Foundation board member Phil Wild, said that on Aug. 3o, all orthopedic equipment from Trenton will be sent to the Belleville hospital. In response, Quinte West resident Carol Andress she will show up to the hospital on that day and protest the transfer.

“I will stay lying on the road until 3 in the morning if I have to,” she said to laughter and loud applause.