A peek through a looking glass

Paul Vieria, CEO of the Hay River Health and Social Services Authority, resigned earlier this month. Hospital employees wept.

Paul Vieria, CEO of the Hay River Health and Social Services Authority, resigned earlier this month.

Hospital employees wept.

“There were very few dry eyes on the women and extremely sad faces on everyone,” wrote former hospital tech Penny Lane-Clark in a letter to the Hay River Hub.

“We were in shock.”

Like Whitehorse, Hay River is experiencing a shortage of medical professionals.

Lane-Clark was a rare bird — an ultrasound/X-ray tech.

She resigned in December. In fact, Vieria announced his departure mere hours after Lane-Clark’s retirement party.

“The day had gone from one of complete happiness to utter sadness,” she wrote.

Like many northern medical staffers, Lane-Clark packed it in because she was burned out.

With her departure, there is only one ultrasound/X-ray tech left in Hay River.

“I am just telling you so you do not expect her to be here 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year,” she wrote.

“It is an impossible situation.”

Sure, Hay River is a long way away.

But Lane-Clark and Vieria’s respective situations are significant to Whitehorse residents for several reasons.

First, Vieria had a reputation for recruiting top-notch medical personnel to the North.

He improved community access to mental health and addiction counseling services.

He brought a dialysis unit to the NWT community.

And, most importantly for Whitehorse, he left after a fight with the hospital board.

Hay River’s CEO and the volunteer hospital board couldn’t agree on something.

They tried to work it out. They didn’t. Vieria left.

That’s unlikely to happen in Whitehorse.

These days, there’s very little to distinguish government-appointed Whitehorse hospital board chair Craig Tuton, a former Yukon Party campaign manager, from CEO Michael Aeberhardt.

They are two peas in a pod.

Tuton established a task force to bolster flagging hospital morale stemming from Aeberhardt’s management.

Tuton talks for Aeberhardt. Tuton acts for Aeberhardt.

Aeberhardt works for Tuton.

These days, Aeberhardt and Tuton are like co-joined twins. Yin and Yang.

Which leaves us wondering who, in the Yukon, champions the hospital staff, patients and services?

Who challenges the board?

Who stands up to its bean counters, and those in government?

Who provides the vision?

“We have been employed at the hospital for 25 years,” wrote Lane-Clark to the Hub.

“We have had innumerable CEOs and many more directors or bosses.

 “There has never been a more personable, intelligent and caring CEO than Paul Vieria.

“We have had some doozies, needless to say. None of us can understand what this board is thinking.”

Hay River lost a CEO who advanced regional medical care, recruited professionals to the North and had the respect of his staff.

He quit because he couldn’t get along with the hospital board.

That’s revealing, especially given the current situation at Whitehorse General Hospital. (RM)

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