Who says superheroes only exist in the movies?
Dr. Diane Stackhouse, a New Brunswick superhero known for providing care and empathy in times of need, faces her biggest challenge yet — being told that she could not practice her profession in St. Mary’s First Nation Medical Clinic, where she previously worked. The clinic had hired a full time nurse practitioner, and as such there was no space for her to see her patients.
Stackhouse, after taking a dose of the Hippocratic oath, began to work diligently to assist patients, whether it was checking on patients, giving prescriptions, or helping an individual feel better. Despite all the odds against her, she rose to the challenge, and began to see her patients in her SUV, parked in the lot of the medical clinic where she used to work. The solution to the injustice granted not only to Stackhouse but also to her patients proved effective, as there is a steady stream of patients going to and from the vehicle.
However, each patient she sees must run to the medical clinic, grab their records prior to seeing Stackhouse, and sign consent forms before releasing their medical information from the clinic.
Although it may seem like the measures this hero is taking to care for her patients is extreme, the real extremity is the shortage of family doctors available in Canada. Statistics Canada’s Canadian Community Health Survey in British Columbia states that 15.4 per cent of the population had no regular medical doctor in 2014, a number that continues to rise throughout the nation. This so-called “doctor hunt” has Canadian citizens frustrated, as patients of retiring doctors find it difficult to switch physicians, and recently graduated doctors find it difficult to look for a permanent position. In such a time where the lack of doctors has many worried, it is troubling to know that Stackhouse has been kicked out of her clinic, and is doing her best to fulfill a social need, no matter where she has to do it.
For now, Stackhouse is fighting against her situation, and writing prescriptions in the back of her car while actively trying to find a clinic where she can practice. While the injustice of this situation is extreme, one cannot help but hope for Stackhouse and her patients, as they continue to fight for what is right.
Will Stackhouse continue seeing patients in her car? Will she find a medical clinic to practice at? The outcome is unknown, but one thing is certain: Stackhouse, a local superhero, will continue to do what is right, and care for those who need her.