Hospital President assures public we will 'cross the finish line together'

News 100 blueBy Eric Vandewall

May 6th, 2021



This week, I would like to offer a message of hope in these uncertain times, and a call for kindness and compassion.

These past 14 months have been incredibly difficult for everyone. The long, difficult road we have all travelled has transformed our lives in ways we could ever imagine.

Eric Vandewall

JBH President Eric Vandewall

Without question, we have all made difficult sacrifices, from in-person connections suddenly ending, sports and activities cancelled indefinitely, and having to adjust to new health and safety provisions intended to protect us. So much anxiety comes from not knowing if the worst is yet to come, or when we will be able to put this pandemic behind us. Those feelings and experiences can have a significant impact on our health and wellbeing.

This week is Mental Health Week. Now, more than ever, please check in on each other and take some time to reflect on your own mental health. A kind gesture goes a long way in making someone’s day better. Let other people know that you are thinking about them, send them a reassuring message, and use kind and inclusive language. Also, know that it is OK not to be OK. If you are struggling, it is vital to open up to someone who you trust or seek out mental health supports available, including virtual supports.

Finally, I would like to offer some hope. Over the past few days, there has been a slight downward trend in not only the number of daily new COVID-19 cases but also in daily COVID-19 critical care hospitalization occupancy rates. While this is early positive news for all of us, and in particular, for our amazing staff and physicians at the hospital, please remember that hospitals in many parts of the province remain under considerable stress. Halton Region continues to see the highest number of cases now since the beginning of the pandemic.

The situation remains precarious, yet hopeful. In terms of our hospital’s capacity, today JBH is at 83% capacity. We are currently caring for 17 patients with confirmed COVID-19 as well as presumed and resolved cases – 12 of the confirmed COVID-19 patients are in Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

The most important thing we can all do to continue to drive daily case numbers down, is to continue to follow public health measures, follow the lockdown guidelines, and get your COVID- 19 vaccination when it’s your turn. I ask you to continue to wash your hands, wear a mask and maintain physical distance.

Together, we will get through this. The road behind us has been a long one, and I can promise you that with your help, we will all cross the finish line together.


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17 comments to Hospital President assures public we will ‘cross the finish line together’

    • David Barker

      Certainly very upsetting. The same goes for male hernia conditions and many other “needed” scans and treatments. There was a considerable waiting list forcall sorts of scans and treatments prior to the pandemic. That situation has been exacerbated by the pandemic

      We all know the problem, Lynn. But what is the solution?

      • Bob

        Read the answer underneath this post.
        According to g.fraser there is no such thing and we should trust him. No life saving surgeries are being cancelled, no cardiac surgeries etc. The problem I see is if they won’t screen for it I guess they’re thinking they don’t have to cancel the surgery.

        Very disturbing

        I wonder what the modelling says about that because the pay today said it will take up to 3.5 years to catch up to the wait list. That would be today’s list, not the one that’s bound to grow when diagnostics find more surgeries that will be necessary

        • Lynn Crosby

          Unfortunately David I don’t think there is a solution now unless Ford is willing to put considerable money into the health care system to deal with the backlog. I think it’s clear that public health is not a priority of this government even during a pandemic!

          Agree Bob that the backlogs are deeply concerning and will certainly contribute to untold number of illness and deaths long after we get past COVID. These numbers won’t be counted as a result of our government’s negligence. My post above is but one example of many. Imagine the number of cancer deaths to come because people weren’t screened until it was too late? Same with heart conditions, and on and on. This third wave was preventable and the experts told our government how to prevent it and it’s criminal that they not only ignored them, but also in many cases attacked them and their position.

  • g.fraser

    I would assume that Bob and Ms Hersh understand that Modelling predictions are based upon dynamic variables (i.e., de novo Covid vs Variance of Concern, population demographics, geographic locations, Covid restriction compliance, etc) used to estimate significance on what possibly may happen in the future. The prediction(s) represent a transient probability which may or may not have significance.

    It’s fluid and temporal and given the number of changing variables involved with this Pandemic, I’m surprised at how well the predictions have done. We have not approached the worst case predicted scenarios, but having a Hospital that is prepared is a blessing. Je Suis Pret!!

    I would rather see an over-prediction than under-prediction. Plan for the worse and hope for the best. I feel that JBH has done this very well. All hospitals use ubiquitous and specific terminology for data collection. Being Covid +ve does not always mean you are in the ICU but it does mean you are contagious and need segregation with healthcare assistance till you can convalesce at home.

    As stated, the prevalence of mental health exhaustion is overwhelming in the General public BUT try being a Hospital Employee or Healthcare staff member. Their numbers have been decimated by sick leave, lack of holidays and the ongoing pandemic Hospital admissions. These Hospital personal also have elderly parents & are home schooling children just like others in the General Public. Then they go to work and place their own health in jeopardy (& possibly their family’s) to help the sick just like all Front Line Workers.

    Trust me, no Life and Death emergency surgeries are being cancelled, no Life saving Cardiac stents are being denied, no Cancer surgeries are being halted, no birthing Mothers’ are being turned away, no Cancer treatments are being withheld. Yes, Elective surgeries are sporadically placed on hold as they are currently due to Hospital Covid patients. Yes, there is a back log of elective cases and the correcting this back log is dependent upon the Pandemic duration, Covid hospital patients, vaccination compliance and the General Public adhering to Medical advice and not Political fodder.

    Keep positive, reach out to a lonely friend, get fresh air, exercise, find things to laugh about, read, pray, hope, believe. Keep away from Nay-Sayers!

    • David Barker

      So we’ll put.

    • Bob

      wow, look at the big words and mumble jumble g.fraser knows.
      What I do know as he himself points out, is that the Modelling is a prediction of which so far every one has missed its mark. Fortunately on the side of over estimating rather than underestimating, but it was and is still a prediction.
      He would rather see an over prediction as opposed to an under prediction, whereas I would rather see a proper prediction.
      “Being Covid +ve does not always mean you are in the ICU but it does mean you are contagious and need segregation with healthcare assistance till you can convalesce at home.”
      this just brings us back to my argument all along, we built a 2.5 million dollar temporary structure for just that purpose, which would allow for the hospital to carry on as normal for other procedures.
      “Trust me, no Life and Death emergency surgeries are being cancelled, no Life saving Cardiac stents are being denied, no Cancer surgeries are being halted, no birthing Mothers’ are being turned away” what about an MRI for an aneurysm? Radiology for a diagnostic before cancer is even found? Trust me on this one, they aren’t happening and I know this one for a fact. Personally I don’t think a brain aneurysm is a elective surgery and on that we may differ. I also work in a workplace considered essential, have family at home, elderly parents etc. Are my parents somehow less important? Is my healthcare less important? I am not by any means ungrateful for the sacrifices front line healthcare workers have made, my questions have always been with the management of both elected leaders and the staff of our hospital who give contradictory statements.

      • David Barker

        “whereas I would rather see a proper prediction.” Bob. All predictions are just guesses. Educated guess maybe, but still guesses. Opinion poles are predictions. No need to say any more!

      • g.fraser

        No one except for the ‘Great Carswell’ can predict the future accurately. That is the point, there is no real ‘proper prediction’. It’s an educated Guess-to-mate based on fluctuating and temporal variables. It is better than nothing and used to prioritize everything Covid be it right or wrong.

        You need Staffing to run any Hospital and these essential individuals are at critical levels just for maintaining the ongoing Hospital’s in patients. How can you do elective surgeries if you have a paucity of staff who cannot follow the post-surgical patient?

        If the Covid third wave reached it worse peak, then that “2.5 million dollar tent” would be utilized for over flow non-ICU Covid patients as stated in prior articles. Who would be staffing this tent……..I would imagine JBH staff in conjunction with Military healthcare specialist as is being done at the Sunnybrook Field Hospital.

        As I stated, Front Line workers are no different than you or I. They have parents, children, mortgages, etc but they differ in placing themselves in harms way while many of us get to stay home and isolate doing Zooming if our job allows it. Remember, you don’t have to be a Healthcare worker to be Front Line. Truckers, Grocery Store workers, etc place their own health in jeopardy by interacting with the general public on a daily basis. No one ever indicated anyone’s parents or children or even jobs are less important, some are just different.

        As for brain aneurysms this type of surgery is not done at JBH but at a tertiary Hospital by Neurosurgeons. I do know that Neurosurgeons are few and far between in Canada and hence it is hard to see any in a timely manner. This issue was prior to Covid and only made worse by Covid.

        I hope you and your family are well and safe

  • Penny Hersh

    It is Mr. Vandewall’s job to make things look rosy, especially in a province that has rising covid 19 cases and has had problems with processing covid 19 test results .I would have to think that when Mr. Vandewall wrote his op Ed piece about the hospital capacity that he probably go his hand slapped from the Province.

    There was an article yesterday in The Globe and Mail indicating the ongoing problems with the processing labs. How can we have a true picture of how many Covid 19 cases there are when the tests have not been processed?

    If things are so under control why are surgeries being cancelled, when there is a 2.5 million dollar “field hospital” acting as a vaccination centre? It is not only cataract and knee replacement surgeries but also heart surgeries that are being postponed and with the backlog that already exists, who knows when these surgeries will actually take place.

    How do I know this because I have friends who are in this position.

    Both Bob and I have provided our sources.

    • David Barker

      Well, Ms Hersh. I do not see here anywhere you have referenced your sources. Perhaps you could re-state your sources?

      You say it is Vanderwall’s job to make things look rosy. Where do you get that job spec from. If that was the case he is lousy at it. And btw he is not a Provincial government appointee. Like his doctors, like the scientists I don’t think he gives a flying frisbee what Ford thinks.

      You realize Bob is saying Vanderwall is saying the situation is dire; and you are saying Vanderwall is saying things are good.

      So if I was to say he is being honest and realistic in his comments, i.e. somewhere between both your views, does my assessment, my opinion have more, less or the same amount of credibility as yours or Bob’s. None of us have any substantive evidence to support our opinions. And that’s just what they are, opinions not facts.

      So, again, I ask where is your factual evidence (not journalistic commentary) that contradicts Mr. Vanderwall.

      One last question to both Bob and yourself, what is the benefit to Mr. Vanderwall, or to JBH to put out misleading or false information? I don’t see any.

  • David Barker

    I find it most interesting and ironic that it seems Bob and Ms Hersh are on opposite sides when it comes to the severity of the pandemic situation, and yet both seem to be saying they are being lied to by governments, hospital organizations, scientists, and medical staff.

    Ms Hersh says “We need to know the truth, not some water downed version.”

    Bob, presumably with vast experience in hospital administration, is saying JBH is at normal non-pandemic levels. (I’ll put aside for the purposes of this comment the question of where that hospital capacity number would be if all the cancelled regular elective surgery was still being performed.)

    My point here is both Ms Hersh and Bob disbelieve what they are being told by supposedly very credible sauces.

    The real and alarming questions we should be asking is “why do they not believe what we are being told?”

    There is a parallel here with those down south who believe the election was stolen. There is absolutely no proof to substantiate that claim.

    So what evidence do either Bob or Ms Hersh have to justify there skepticism? Having a gut feeling isn’t enough to stand up and shout out “you’re lying to us.

    Please Bob, please Ms Hersh profer you evidence that leads you to your voiced position that we are being lied to.

    Thank you.

    • Bob

      In our conversations David I have provided you with the source of my information when commenting on contradictory stories. I have yet to see a source from you of your vast knowledge.
      The fact Penny and I may have different viewpoints and yet agree on the mixed messaging of this issue should be a wake up call that maybe we are on to something here.
      There is no “gut feeling”, the question isn’t why we are sceptical after so many contradictory messages, it is why you have so much blind faith in the message being accurate. If we all wanted to believe the messaging, we would be walking around not wearing masks (Teresa Tam)
      Flying all over the world because closing borders would be seen as racist (Justin Trudeau)
      The crisis is over as hospital capacity is down 15% in one week (Eric Vandewall).
      Staying at home and quarantining (unless your Doug Ford and your cottage needs repair, provincial finance minister, CEO of a London hospital etc). You wonder why I have questions for our political leaders? I. Curious why you do t.

      Believe it or not, I totally understand the severity of this pandemic and have done my isolation and distancing like the rest of the population. What I won’t do is give blind allegiance to political leaders of any stripe who are being disingenuous and outright telling mistruths for political advantage.

      • David Barker

        I totally agree with you, Bob, as to not giving blind alliegence to any of our political leaders. As I have said many times Trudeau has made many mistakes, as has Ford, as has Johnson in the UK, as has Merkel in Germany, as has Macron in France, and so on. Why have they made mistakes? Because they have tried to walk a middle line between the views of scientists/doctors and commercial interests. Problem is COVID care.

        Dr Tam is not a part of the federal government. She is the Chuef Public Heath Officer of Canada. That is a position independent of the government. Similarly, Vanderwall is employed by JBH, not any government body. Neither have any vested political interests.

        The Federal and provincial governments, the medical community, the scientist, and the entire population are learning on the job. None have any experience in dealing with a pandemic of this proportion. So advice being given changes over time as situations develop.

        You say “the crisis is over at the hospital”. Where is the authority for that statement? The CEO of the hospital says “The situation remains precarious, yet hopeful.” He does not say the crisis is over. (My source – JBH ‘s CEO; Yours ?).

        If you think you can do a better job put your degrees in medicine, hospital management, pandemic control on the line and lead us out of this thing.

        Easy to throw mud. Way more difficult to provide alternative solutions.

      • Tom Muir

        Bob, My recollection from watching Tam on TV, early pandemic, when masks were in short supply, and folks were in dispute about wearing them at all, was she was referring to wearing masks OUTDOORS. I remember this.

        She has never in my experience watching, questioned wearing masks indoors. This is at the foundation of public health measures in respiratory pandemics.

        Since you are her accuser, you need to provide evidence of this serious charge. As you ask David; provide the source of your information when commenting on contradictory stories.

  • Penny Hersh

    I do not have any faith in what people are being told about the number of Covid 19 cases in hospitals. There is an article in The Star today on this subject . People have lost faith in what governments are telling them not only about how many new cases there are in Ontario but also the numbers of patients in hospital with Covid 19. The article in The Star indicated it is much higher.
    “Together we will get through this” – tell this to the multitude of patients who have had surgeries cancelled for lack of ICU space. A backlog so large that one questions if the health system will ever catch up.

    The Covid 19 cases reported each day in Ontario can only be accurate if all the tests have been processed – in many cases this is not happening. How accurate can a number be if 39,000 tests have not been processed for that time period?

    Yes, we have been stretched to the limit. Mental Health is a being affected, and everyone is on edge after being in a lockdown situation for over a year and not knowing when this will end.

    Many refuse to realize that the lack of sufficient vaccine, not wearing facial masks, and not practicing physical distancing has contributed to this third wave.

    How many people after getting the first dose of the vaccine realize that they need to be just as vigilant for 14-21 days and after that should continue to do what they have to so as not to to spread the disease? I have heard so many people after getting their vaccination saying that they are now safe….this is not the case with the different variants circling around.

    We need to know the truth, not some water downed version. Some who comment will say this is a very pessimistic approach – not so – it is a very realistic approach.

  • Bob

    One week ago today Mr Vandewall wrote an op Ed piece in this paper about how dire it was and how terrible it was the hospital was at 91% capacity.
    Instead of numbers increasing as Chicken Little was crying, we are now at 83% in 7 days.
    I asked then and the week before, what is normal operating capacity of the hospital?
    I would be shocked if it didn’t normally run around the 80% mark and quite probably a lot higher, as anyone who is awaiting diagnostic or other procedures in normal times could attest, JBH normally runs at or near capacity. In fact there is quite a long backlog for most procedures done at JBH as there is no room at the inn.