Community Articles
Go to Site Index See "Community Articles" main page
General News · 31st August 2010
Alden Sherwood
Dr. Kirstie Overhill is recovering from a bout of illness, thank goodness. I look forward to her return to the Health Centre.

I had heard rumours that she would be prevented from continuing her practice and, being understandably alarmed, I wrote a note to the CCHA board asking whether this was indeed the case and, if it was, which of CCHA, VIHA, BCMA or some other obscure collection of initials was responsible for the decision. I got a response, not from the Board, but from the health centre administrator, indicating that VIHA had not indicated that Kirstie’s contract was not to be renewed.

That should have been comforting but further inquiries indicated that VIHA’s renewal of Kirstie’s contract was contingent upon the CCHA continuing Kirstie’s lease in the Centre. The Board has apparently decided not to grant the lease to Kirstie but rather to seek other applicants for the position as CCHA’s doctor.

So the response of the administrator was, to put it kindly, an obfuscation.

WHAT’S HAPPENING?

Kirstie came to us a good number of years ago. She looked after us, operating first from the cramped quarters at the Manson’s Hall. With her encouragement, we raised funds to build the Health Centre of which we are justifiably proud, and in the planning of which, she took an important role.

Kirstie has looked after us with skill, patience and compassion. I have discussed the situation with other patients and it seems that her diagnoses and treatments have been “spot on”. When we are referred to specialists - dermatologists, oncologists, internists, pathologists, etc.- Kirstie’s diagnoses are confirmed. Kirstie has made house calls when these are required and has shown special kindness in comforting her patients who are nearing the end of life. She has demonstrated understanding and responsiveness to the developments and changes that occur in her patients' histories as the years have passed. I have found few who are critical of her performance. She is a fine doctor.

Kirstie and her family have become active participants in Cortes affairs and have built their permanent home here.

During my two term period as CCHA board member and after, I saw no reason to expect that Kirstie’s contract would not be renewed, essentially automatically.

When Kirstie became ill, one would have expected the Board to have looked for ways to support her and to make her recovery quick and easy. Instead, the Board saw fit, for some unknown reason, to call for new applicants for her position, thereby increasing the strain incurred by her illness.

It is maintained that Kirstie may join the list of applicants but that must certainly be of small comfort. If there were no desire to terminate her practice in the Health Centre, there would be no need to call for new applications.

The principle of re-advertising at the end of each lease period is perhaps valid for football or hockey players and certainly for CCHA Boards but makes no sense at all for family doctors. Indeed, if it becomes known in the medical profession that the CCHA conducts a periodic competition to determine who will have the practice, we shall find it very difficult ever to recruit a suitable person.

The desirable situation is a good doctor in long term residence in the community building knowledge about her patients as they pass from childhood to old age.

WE HAVE A GOOD DOCTOR. WE DON’T NEED A NEW ONE.
Dr Overhill
Comment by Nicola Newton on 29th August 2010
Thank you for your posting.
Who better than Kirstie, the physician we have known and trusted all these years? At the very least let us show her that we appreciate her and would love to have her back.
Keep Dr. Overhill
Comment by Jill Milton on 28th August 2010
Do we as a community have any say in who our doctor will be? I know nothing of the reasons Kirstie's contract is not being renewed, but I would ask the Board to please try to resolve any issues and keep Dr. Overhill as our physician.
Like many others, I am grateful to Kirstie for her kind and skillful care. Throughout my treatment for breast cancer (diagnosed after Kirstie found a lump a recent mammogram had missed) she was the one who explained test results, interceded with specialists, kept track of how my various health conditions were interrelated and, most importantly, kept my spirits up.
In the last eight months I've felt the lack of continuity in health care keenly and have been looking forward to an office visit where I didn't have to spend 15 minutes explaining my 4 inch thick file. It's invaluable to have a doctor who knows you & the circumstances of your life. We've been lucky to have such a good physician in our small community, please, let's keep her!
Why would we treat one of our own this way?
Comment by France Laberge on 28th August 2010
Dr. Overhill has helped so many of us in time of distress and as a community, as a tribe, we stand behind her and her family in support.
There is nothing , she could have done , to deserve to have this stress added to her life. In the balance of things, this doctor is a pearl and she belongs with us.
Please, board, be compassionate and get over yourself.
Dr. Overhill
Comment by Denise Elo on 28th August 2010
I feel that the CCHA should be informing the community members of why they have decided to put Dr. Overhill on a list to renew her contract. After all aren't we part of this process. Dr. Overhill should be given the right to renew. If there are reasons as to why the board members have decided she should not be given the first option then I think out of respect she derseves a meeting with all board members and with her choice of a mediator. When someone has an illness and then recover they should be given their poistion back. Dr. Overhill has be there for this community, lets fix what the CCHA feels is broken and bring her back where she belongs.

I would just like to say that there would not be a CCHA if it was not for Dr. Overhill. With that said am I not a member of the CCHA? If so why was I as a member not notified of this situation? If things need to be cleared up with Dr. Overhill then lets talk. To let a great Dr. slip through our hands would be a shame. She is part of this community and deserves more respect than what she is being shown.
Keeping Kirstie!
Comment by Ruth and Roland on 28th August 2010
Kirstie has been as good a doctor as we could wish for; our family have all appreciated her compassion, skills, competence, and the strong support when we needed her. If there are issues to be dealt with, we ask that the board attempt to resolve them in a manner which allows us to keep this wonderful doctor.
Dr Overhill
Comment by Brigid Weiler on 27th August 2010
I don't know anything about the procedure w/ regard to hiring a doctor here but I must add my voice to the wish that Kirsty could remain with us. I have many reasons for feeling this way, but in the forefront is my experience last year while taking care of a dying friend here in his home. Kirsty came to welcome him when we brought him home the ambulance; she came every day to see him; she came over after he died; she counselled and helped me during the hard days that followed. Between she and Anita I could not possibly have had better, kinder, more professional or more loving medical help, and I will be ever grateful.
To Good Reasons
Comment by Richard Trueman on 25th August 2010
Do any of the “good reasons” have to do with the care giving? -which is praised by YOU and our very own experiences. I think we and the Board should put that as number one on our priorities when considering a Doctor.
Kirstie Overhill Deserves Better Consideration
Comment by Cay Leavitt on 25th August 2010
For the past 10 years Kirstie Overhill has always been available to us and more than once has diagnosed a condition correctly before the results of tests were returned. Just last September she was responsible for getting the tests I needed, and the results, on a Friday afternoon, for what turned out to be a life threatening infection. We have nothing but praise for her and urge everyone she has helped let the CCHA know how much we want her to stay. Thank you Alden for bringing this situation to our attention.
Keep our doctor
Comment by Carole Thacker on 24th August 2010
When we chose a family doctor we envision that doctor treating us and our families for years. In a small community it is comforting to know that your doctor knows you and understands where you come from. Kirstie has been that doctor for us and I would hate to have to change doctors because of politics.

It is very difficult to get a doctor to come to this small community and practise, live here and be here for the long term. Please, if there are differences or problems work them out, don't throw our doctor away.
Good Reasons
Comment by Gary Cork on 24th August 2010
As past board member and president of the CCHA over five years I would like to point out that the above letter does not cover the many issues of which i am aware. There is much more to this issue than appears in the letter.
I agree that Dr. Overhill is a good doctor and has initiated many beneficial programmes in the community, but please do not judge to quickly a board that may have good reasons for its decision.
Thankyou Kirstie
Comment by Debra Fontaine on 23rd August 2010
I am disappointed in the lack of community support for someone who has given so much of herself to all of us.Perhaps the majority of the community are not aware of Kirstie's illness and the stress she has been put under while trying to heal herself. There are a lot of people on Cortes who have worked very hard to create the health centre from the caring people inside the building to the beautiful window and facility.I hope as a community you can keep the quality of care available for yourselves. You wont find that level of care in many other places. Thankyou Kirstie for your care for me and my family.
Please Keep Dr. Overhill
Comment by Patricia leRoux on 23rd August 2010
I completely agree with your well worded letter Alden. Where could I write to express my support for her and desire to have her back?
Thank you, Alden
Comment by Peter Jackel on 22nd August 2010
You made some interesting observations in a concise, and kindly, fashion. I tend to agree with you, especially about the periodic competition.
I await with interest the response from the CCHA in which I want nothing less than transparency and honesty.