New doctor to start at Elk Valley Hospital in July

Dr. Kimberley Allan to enhance surgical program

A family physician with enhanced surgical skills will start at Elk Valley Hospital in July, more than a year after the retirement of the facility’s only general surgeon, Dr. Colm Nally.

Dr. Kimberley Allan did her family practice residency in northern Alberta through the University of Alberta and is currently completing her surgical training in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, with the University of Saskatchewan.

She is also studying a Masters in Global Surgical Care at the University of British Columbia.

Dr. Allan has worked in a number of communities in the Kootenays, including Cranbrook and Nelson, as well as Crowsnest Pass, and is looking forward to moving to Fernie.

“Fernie is a great place to live, with great mountain biking, great skiing and a very supportive medical community,” she said.

The recruitment of Dr. Allan comes more than a year after the retirement of Dr. Nally, who served in a solo general surgery practice for 30 years before retiring on May 31, 2017.

Elk Valley health service administrator Karyn Morash said Dr. Allan’s appointment would further enhance the services provided in Fernie.

“She will work alongside our excellent local surgical team and the skilled team of visiting specialists who are coming regularly from Cranbrook,” she said.

Elk Valley Hospital services nearly 15,000 people over an area measuring 8044 square kilometres and including Fernie, Sparwood, and Elkford.

Its surgical program includes Cesarian sections as well as appropriate elective day surgery cases, such as hernia repairs and gall bladder removals, based on the skills and abilities of the operating room (OR) team, which consists of a surgeon, anesthetist and nurses.

An Interior Health (IH) facility profile shows surgical day care cases at the hospital have increased over the years, while inpatient surgery cases have remained relatively steady, with 46 cases in both 2015/16 and 2016/17, the majority of which were Cesarean section deliveries.

Morash said at this time, the hospital had on-call availability for obstetrics for the majority of weekdays (47 weeks per year) and every second weekend.

“We continue to actively pursue 24/7 on-call availability, it is a top priority for us,” she said.

“We are very proud of the physician, nursing, administration and community engagement that has supported our OR through the enhancement of visiting specialists and the recruitment of Dr. Allan, and will continue to build on this success through engagement with our East Kootenay facilities and through the Rural Surgical Obstetrics Network.”

Kootenay East Regional Hospital District (KERHD) board director and Fernie mayor, Mary Giuliano, said the recruitment of Dr. Allan was good news for the region.

“For many years, IH and local doctors from the Valley have been working towards a replacement for Dr. Nally,” she said.

“Dr. Paul Michal has spearheaded the search and several years ago a professional recruiter was hired with some financial assistance from Area A, the three communities and the Hospital Foundation.”

Dr. Nally’s position was first advertised in 2010 and Giuliano believes a real or perceived lack of work for both young and experienced surgeons could be hampering the hospital’s ability to attract specialists.

Giuliano, along with the three other Elk Valley-based KERHD board members, would like to see the operating room made available on a regular basis and has suggested to IH that the type and number of procedures could be increased to sustain it.

“This however would impact the work at the Regional Hospital in Cranbrook, so it’s not likely to happen, however, another suggestion was to have Cranbrook specialists come to use the OR here and we have been told that to a degree this is occurring,” she said.

The KERHD board has also called for immediate 24/7 availability for obstetrics in Fernie.

“There should be around-the-clock ability to have babies born in Fernie at whatever hour of day and night as there was years ago,” said Giuliano.

Just Posted

GALLERY: 2018 Wapiti Music Festival

Did we spot you at Wapiti Music Festival over the weekend in Fernie?

No raining on Wapiti’s parade

Fernie music festival huge success despite less than ideal weather conditions

Elk Valley wildfires update

Hot, dry conditions to continue as BC Wildfire Service battles wildfires across the region

Louise Baxter found after 72 hour search

Cranbrook hiker had been missing since Sunday, August 12, near Jumbo Pass.

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin has died

Publicist Gwendolyn Quinn reports Franklin passed Thursday at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit

‘Hot and dirty work:’ Commander describes fighting massive Ontario wildfire

Ontario has seen more than 1,000 forest fires so far this year, compared to 561 in all of 2017.

‘Billion-piece jigsaw puzzle:’ Canadians key to 1st complete map of wheat genome

The paper has 202 authors from 73 research agencies in 20 countries.

70 years after Babe Ruth’s death, fans still flock to grave

After Ruth died of throat cancer at age 53, tens of thousands of fans came to pay respects

Airbnb’s federal budget proposal tells Liberals, ‘we want to be regulated’

Submission says ‘we want to be regulated’ and asks the government to avoid forcing existing rules

Greens won’t run candidate in Burnaby South as ‘leader’s courtesy’ to Singh: May

Green Leader Elizabeth May says the decision is an extension of a ‘leader’s courtesy’

UPDATED: B.C. RCMP dismantle Kinder Morgan protest camp

RCMP say they will enforce a court injunction today and remove Trans Mountain pipeline protesters who have been camped outside a Kinder Morgan terminal in Burnaby.

Italy says death toll will mount in Genoa bridge collapse

Authorities worried about the stability of remaining large sections of a partially collapsed bridge evacuated about 630 people from nearby apartments.

Former CIA Director: Trump worked with Russians and now he’s desperate

In an opinion piece in The New York Times, John Brennan cites press reports and Trump’s own goading of Russia during the campaign to find Democrat Hillary Clinton’s missing emails.

Most Read