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'I was one lucky person to meet him'to the editor,
Posted October 9, 2013
In response to your article regarding cut backs to operating room times for treating glaucoma and cataract patients at Stevenson Memorial Hospital in Alliston by Dr. Baseer Khan, what a tragedy for those patients suffering from various eye problems in general.
My husband John Thomas develped Acute Glaucoma eight years ago and as a result we were forced to sell our Funeral Home in Alliston as he was unable to keep working.
There was no treatment at SMH at the time and their equipment was out-dated. He had to travel to Toronto for treatment under unbearable pain, and the doctor treating him there was unable to help him and so he was sent to Toronto Western Hospital to undergo surgery for an Ahmed Devise and three Cornea Transplants. He still travels to Toronto 8 years later to see the Glaucoma Specialist, Dr. Trope and the Cornea Specialist, Dr. Slomavic.
The travel to Toronto takes a whole day round trip - leave at 7 am. for an 11 a.m. appointment due to heavy traffic from Alliston to Toronto. Then fnding parking, usually a 3 block walk to the Hospital. John is young enough to do the trip but if he were older or handicapped it would be almost impossible. He does it six or seven times for field tests, pressure checks, sight checks etc. If he could be treated in Alliston it would be much easier for everyone. He is only one individual experiencing these frustrations.
Over the past two years I had the misfortune of developing double vision. I went to New Tecumseth Optical and was referred to Dr. Khan. I was one lucky person to meet him and have him take care of me. I travelled to Toronto York Finch and Toronto Western Hospital for tests with specialists.
I developed cataracts and under Dr. Khan's care was able to have them removed in each eye over the past month - the first on Sept. 18th and the second Oct 2nd. I was able to see Dr. Khan at SMH for an evaluation but had the surgeries at his clinic in Vaughan. The procedures were about 20 minutes each time.
After the first surgery I had to travel to Vaughan the next day for a check up, which you really don't feel up to, instead of the five minutes it would take if it had been in Alliston. After the next surgery I was able to go to SMH and it was so much easier.
Do the Hospital board members not see the need for Dr. Khan in Alliston? If he is willing to give up his time to travel to Alliston to see patients and perform necessary surgeries, then what is the problem? Do the number of patients he sees not represent the great need for this important surgery? If one of them had glaucoma or cataracts then they would see how important he is.
What a shame for our local hospital, supported by local and area residents over many years through donations, to become a satelite of Southlake Hospital in Newmarket.
First we hear that Dr. Ian Gray, Dr. Swarbreck and Dr. Hendrick can no longer practice at SMH. These dedicated and hard working doctors who have had patients for 40 plus years in Alliston are left without hospital privileges and now Dr. Khan is on the chopping block too. Perhaps cuts could be made in other departments where there is a surplus of funds to offset the losses in Opthomology. Does the Birthing Unit pay for itself or the Oncology Unit?
Alliston is a growing area with a large elderly population in Green Briar, Briar Hill, Alliston proper and surrounding areas including Beeton, Tottenham, Lisle, Everett, Adjala-Tosorontio, and Essa. These people should be able to rely on local services as many are unable to drive themselves to Toronto Western or Sunnybrook Hospital. Please don't take this away from them. Please allow Dr. Khan to continue to perform these needed services for the unfortunate who develop eye problems. He is an amazing, very gifted doctor.
I am happy to report that I now can see very well and do not require glasses and have had my double vision corrected by Dr. Khan. If I had not seen him I probably would still have double vision.
If you agree with me regarding this, please send a letter to your local councillor, MPP and MP, as well the CEO at SMH and the Board members.
Barbara J. Thomas,