Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 13, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
Obstetrics 'should become municipal hospital's baby' By GEORGE STEPHENSON Herald Staff Writer Lethbridge hospitals' obstetrics units should be combined to meet minimum Alberta Medical Association standards, a major health study recommends. It recommends a similar step for the pediatrics units. The study, which examines the city's health services, says a single obstetrics unit should be established in the Lethbridge Municipal Hospital. Closure of the department in the St. Michael's Hospital would make room for a single pediatrics department which should be es- tablished there, the study by a Toronto con- sulting firm says. The maternal welfare committee of the AMA recommends that deliveries (births) per year is the minimum for an efficient obstetrical unit. "The total number of deliveries at the LMH and St. Michael's in 1973 was just over therefore the single unit could be expected to meet minimum standards suggested by the com- the study says. The move would increase the number of obstetrical-gynecological beds in LMH to 38 from 19. Areas such as case rooms, labor rooms and nurseries would be expanded accordingly. "Obstetrics is increasingly becoming a highly specialized service and the consolidation of staff and equipment would be the study says. "With a single specialized unit, more high risk pregnancies could be attracted from the surrounding area resulting in better care and perhaps a lower mortality." The study also recommends an intensive cart unit for newborns as an integral part of the centralized unit. At. St. Michael's, where obstetrics beds would be phased out, a single pediatrics unit should be established to "maintain a balance of beds and services" between the hospitals. The study says additional beds for pediatrics can be made available because of the elimina- tion of obstetrics and gynecolpgy. Other advantages of a central pediatrics unit are similar to those for centralized obstetrics: More effective use of doctors' time, less travel time from one institution to the other; Less duplication fo specialized equipment; Increased operational efficiency; Improved staffing, concentration of specialized staff. Improved staff training programs and facilities. No major changes are suggested for St. Michael's facilities to accommodate pediatrics except, the study says, dividers between beds should be replaced by permanent partitions. This would eliminate the threat of cross infec- tion, it says. Psychiatric care at hospitals 6needs revamping' A revamping of psychiatric care at the two Lethbridge hospitals and establishment of a detoxification centre in the city has been called for by a study into hospital services. The study calls for a decrease in the number of psychiatric beds at the Lethbridge Municipal Hospital and an emphasis on alternate forms of psychiatric care. The recommendation follows on the heels of an earlier proposal by the LMH to establish a psychiatric day care program in the former nurses residence at St. Michael's Hospital. St. Michael's does not have any psychiatric beds, LMH has a 21-bed ward. The study says the day care proposal by the hospital should be temporary "with a view to eventually relocating in the nurses' residence at LMH, when space becomes available in the event that the Specimen transport 6too slow' The transportation of medical specimens between the two acute hospitals in Lethbridge should be im- proved, a Lethbridge health study says. The study says the transpor- tation of specimens from the Lethbridge Municipal to St. Michael's Hospital by taxi "is a major concern, especially in emergency situations." Specimens and results of tests are moved between the two hospitals because sections of the Southern Alberta regional laboratory are hous- ed in both facilities. The lab serves 12 rural hospitals as well as city hospitals. The departments of biochemistry, bacteriology, and histology are at LMH with heaematology and blood bank- ing at St. Michael's. "The existing taxi service is the most economical method of transportation (but) delays in delivery are often a major concern, especially in emergency the study says. "A possible solution is the purchase by the hospitals of a small vehicle capable of transferring laboratory specimens, and other materials, as necessary. "Such a vehicle need not be an expensive, heavy duty model, and it would primarily be used between the two hospitals, a distance of only three the study says. City 'could use neighborhood names' What's in a name? A sense of community iden- tity that if nourished could help reduce the north south split in Lethbridge, says Aid. Tony Tobin. He's advocating adoption of a naming policy by city coun- cil that would include the for- mal identification of city neighborhoods by name, using names of local pioneers to create a sense of history as well as community. One way to create a feeling of neighborhood is to name areas of the city so people could say "I live in West- or "I'm from Staf- rather than "I'm from North or South Aid. Tobin said. It's important, he says, in a resolution to go to council Monday, that communities re- tain a "social memory." He suggests names such as Glendale, Staffordville, District The Lethbtidgc Herald Second Section Lethbridge, Alberta, Friday, December 13, 1974 Pages 17-32 LMH nursing school is phased out." The government has in- dicated it may phase out all hospital based nursing schools. "There are obvious advan- tages to having the day care centre located in close prox- imity to the active treatment unit in the the study obtained by The Herald says. "But the utilization of space at St. Michael's is an accep- table short term solution to the critical need for psy- chiatric day care facility in Lethbridge." The study emphasizes the need for day care because the report's examination of patients occupying psy- chiatric beds shows some could be cared for in a day care program. The report says both psy- chiatric and active medical beds at the LMH could be decreased by establishing ser- vices such as psychiatric day care, a hostel unit and an alcohol detoxification centre. "Patients being treated in a day care setting may from time to time require short term the study says. "These patients will not require the full acute care ser- vices of the general hospital but an intermediate level of care. "Therefore a hostel unit (should) be established to further reduce the need to utilize acute care beds." The study also recommends the establishment of an alcohol detoxification centre in the city because of the high number of beds occupied by people with alcohol related problems. The study says about 10 per cent of people in active treat- ment beds could be adequate- ly treated in a detoxification centre. The centre should operate under the auspices of the Alberta Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Commission. Of existing active psy- chiatric facilities in the LMH, the study says they are "inadequate" and "far from ideal." As other forms of care become available the psy- chiatric unit should be design- ed "with modern facilities and an environment suitable to the treatment of psy- chiatric patients, including comfortable lounges and private consultation the study adds. Henderson Park, Riverview, and Silverdale could be used. And ad hoc naming com- mittee consisting of one alder- man, a city staff member, four interested residents and E. S. Vaselenak is called for in the resolution, Mr. Vaselenak had suggested in a letter to council last month that streets in West Lethbridge be named after pioneers of the area, but council nixed the idea with some aldermen saying it could create a raft of problems. Aid. Tobin now suggests the naming committee could recommend to council by alphabetical order, names for undesignated streets, roads and facilities where the city is not using a numbering system. It could also recommend neighborhood boundaries and names, he says. SILT COVERS STOVE IN BASEMENT Barnweil farmers wait for flood compensation By RUSSELL OUGHTRED Herald Staff Writer On Aug. 1, Barnweil farmer Norman Fenske saw the water coming. "I looked south and saw water spraying 15 to 30 feet in the air from the main canal drop." Shortly after, Mr. Fenske said, millions of gallons of water rushed from a main irrigation canal east of Chin Reservoir. It covered 500 acres of crops and forced one family to flee their home. That was over four months ago. Today everyone agrees the canal washout was a disaster, but no one agrees who should compensate the flood victims. Several fanners sustained heavy crop losses. Most farms suffered soil and erosion. The couple forced to abandon their home had to rent a place to live in Taber. Now all want compensation for damages. Gabriel Tajcnar wants to move back into his house, one mile west of Barnweil. Damages are reported to exceed but no one is saying much for fear of jeopardizing claims against the St. Mary River Irrigation District, which operates the main canal. SMRID manager Jake Thiessen sympathizes with the flood victims and readily admits the washout was a. "disaster." But, he adds, "our hands are tied" because property damage claims go to the irrigation district's insurance company. SMRID carries insurance against property damage caused by negligence on the part of the district. Was the irrigation district at fault? Government asked to pick up the bill A proposal that the provincial government compensate flood victims has received the unanimous support of the province's 13 irrigation districts. At its annual meeting here Wednesday, the Alberta Irriga- tion Projects Association ratified an SMRID proposal that damages from floods not caused by negligence be paid by the province's Disaster Services Agency. Social Credit agriculture critic Leighton Buckwell of Fort Macleod has said he supports the AIPA proposal and has called for a government study of the plight of flood victims like the Barnwell farmers. But Ernest Tyler, executive director of the disaster agency, told The Herald in a telephone interview Thursday the AIPA proposal is a "significant departure" from government policy. Mr. Tyler said the Barnwell disaster is not an isolated case. "We've had quite a variety of similar incidents drawn to our attention. This kind of situation (isn't I've seen at least another six. He said the AIPA proposal to involve the disaster agency would "have to go to the deputy premier. He would, I assume, have to take it to the cabinet." Deputy Premier Hugh Homer, in Banff for the weekend, was not available for comment. Meanwhile, Mr. Buckwell told The Herald Thursday irriga- tion districts should consider paying premiums into the Disaster Services Agency to underwrite their proposal. "Perhaps the total liability of all irrigation districts in cases such as this (where negligence is not apparent) should have been studied by the government before it is brought into the Disaster Services Act." He said he was "surprised" some districts carry no proper- ty damage liability insurance. However, an insurance industry spokesman said Thursday, "it is extremely difficult for irrigation districts to get in- surance" because of a "bleak outlook as far as losses go." The insurance executive, who asked his name be withheld, said irrigation districts are liable only if they act in a negligent manner. He defined negligence as "omitting to do something a prudent and reasonable man would do." "Flood insurance is not generally obtainable." If it were, he added, premiums and deductibles would be "substantial." "We don't know the cause" of the washout, Mr. Thiessen says. The canal had operated at full capacity, cubic feet of water per second, for six weeks before the canal failed at a diversion gate to a small lateral operated by Taber What does the insurance company say? "They haven't said replies city lawyer Phil North, who represents most of the farmers in their claims. Insurance adjusters say they are he adds. Part of the insurance game, he says, is "don't admit any guilt." "I've had no official word from the insurance company either admitting or denying liability." The Barnwell case, "the first claim of its raises some legal questions for Mr. North. Can the SMRID take refuge in the Irrigation Act, which makes the irrigation district liable only for negligent ac- tions? If the insurance company pays out the full in the SMRID policy, but claims ex- ceed that amount; who is liable for the excess? One thing is clear in the lawyer's view of the Barnwell flood: "The farmers did nothing wrong." One week of school left University, college and grade school students will begin their last week of classes and exams Monday before the Christmas break. Exams conclude at the Lethbridge Community College Dec. 20, the Universi- ty of Lethbridge Dec. 19 and the last day uf school for public and separate school students is Dec. 20. .Public and separate school students are to return to the classroom Jan. 6, with the ex- ception of Wilson Junior High School students and teachers who begin their new semester Jan. 3. Registration date for full time students enrolling at the U of L for the spring semester is Jan. 2. College students are to register Jan. 3 and begin classes Jan. 6. FLOOR OF TAJCNAR LIVING ROOM WARPED, CARPET TORN Alderman flays obeisance to urban master plans "We saw computer ex- plode (fie day we stopped That line from Civil Elegies by Canadian poet Dennis Lee refers to citizen protests which halted construction of the Spadina Freeway through the heart of Toronto. It was quoted Thursday by Aid. Tony Tobin in a speech to the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs in which he urged an end to "Spadina like" urban planning imposed from above by politicans and their bureaucracies. Urban protest in Canadian cities, Aid. Tobin said, is an assertion that local ex- perience, local needs and local citizens are a much better base for political deci- sion making than master plans and the planning theories from which they are derived. "Both the neighborhood movement and its corollary, the demand for more than token citizen participation in political decisions, demand not only a restructuring of the role of the politician and the technocrat, but also a restruc- turing of the procedures of local government including those that relate to. citizen access to information and utilization of city planners and city hall he said. CONCENSUS Too often, said Aid. Tobin, politicans hide behind the "myth of the general which many times is either a justification of the needs of in- dustry or support for the plans of developers and technocrats. The politician, he suggested, should see himself as a "delegate" with a respon- sibility to find out what interests of "his" people are and their majority concensus on major issues upon which the delegate has to make a decision. "These represent some of the reasons why I am ad- vocating a neighborhood im- provement program for the Aid. Tobin told the more than 50 people at the luncheon. The most basic and essen- tial criteria of the program is the active involvement and participation of neighborhood residents in the planning and implementation of the program, he said. Aid. Tobin's comments drew 'a response from Mayor Andy Anderson in the question period that followed. DEFENCE The mayor defended the past record of council in providing amenities for peo- ple and said the neighborhood improvement program may be timely now. But, he said, once it is properly put before the residents the city should definitely hear from them as to whether or not they want it and what percentage of them want it. "It may be that some don't want it at all." Games gold, silver coins sold out in first month Not all that glitters is silver and gold, but the sparkle emanating from the Canada Winter Games office is real. Sale of Winter Games coins have exceeded all expec- tations, the Games Society announced Thursday. Since the coins wen on sale Nov. 18, all the society's 50 gold pieces, going at apiece, have been sold and 300 orders for the 250 J20 silver coins have been received. Some of the silver nickel coins have gone. Despite the success of the sale, Mr. Rempel said the society is not in a position to mint any more gold and silver coins and orders have been cut off on both.