New Brunswick rallies to keep ERs open overnight
HALIFAX -- Hundreds are expected to gather at New Brunswick's Sackville Hospital on Monday to rally to keep its emergency room open at night.
"I think it shows the people in Fredericton that we're not just going to take this," says Sackville, N.B., deputy mayor, Ron Aiken.
Sackville is one of six communities where rallies are planned – all municipalities affected by the province's decision to close ERs overnight will be protesting on Monday.
"I think a lot of people are ready to not be silent and to speak out; and to let everyone know what it is like to live in rural New Brunswick in the first place and not be in those city centres, and some of the challenges we already have and that this is going to compound those challenges," says Sackville resident, Laura Thurston.
Recently, nearly 500 people showed up for a similar rally last week in Sackville. Many in the community worry the cuts will affect doctor recruitment and even student enrollment at Mount Allison University.
"Businesses will close, the town will slowly get to be a ghost town," says Sackville resident, Malcolm Phinney.
"It's like waves in a pond," says Aiken. "It's just going to spread and affect a lot more things than just how many beds are here or there."
However, the biggest worry is for the lives of residents who will be put at risk if emergency cases are forced to travel to Moncton overnight.
"I had a heart attack here in October, and they said that they had to ship me to Saint John because Moncton was too full," says Sackville resident, Stanley LaFrance.
"People are going to die if this hospital closes," says Thurston. "I can tell you personally, I've been involved in life-saving efforts at this hospital between the hours of 10 p.m. and 8 a.m., and I don't' ever want someone to face that."
Meanwhile, all rallies across the province on Monday are expected to begin at 2 p.m.