New fa­mi­ly doc­tor draws crowd in Saint-la­zare

Res­ponse 'a si­gn of the times'

L'Etoile - - IN OTHER WORDS -

Ti­ckets for all 500 spots had been han­ded out by a lit­tle af­ter noon on the grey but mild win­ter day, as po­ten­tial pa­tients crea­ted a line that stret­ched at times down the si­de­walk, in front of a phar­ma­cy and around the cor­ner of the Saint-la­zare Sa­qs­tore.

The first pa­tients be­gan li­ning up as of 4:00 a.m. wit­nesses said.

Feb. 6 was the first day new pa­tients could si­gn up with Dr. Ste­phen Har­ri­son, a fa­mi­ly prac­ti­tio­ner who re­cent­ly re­lo­ca­ted his me­di­cal prac­tice to Saint-la­zare from L’île-per­rot.

Dian­na Har­ri­son, Dr. Har­ri­son’s wife and re­cep­tio­nist, said she fiel­ded calls last week from close to 5,000 people wan­ting the doc­tor to take them on as per­ma­nent pa­tients.

"I told eve­ryone they had to come to­day... It’s on a first come first ser­ved basis," Har­ri­son ex­plai­ned.

She said her husband de­ci­ded to move his of­fice so the fa­mi­ly could re­lo­cate to Saint-la­zare.

The me­di­cal prac­tice, which is sha­red with pe­dia­tri­cian Dr. Al­lan Jar­jour, was be­sie­ged by hun­dreds of would-be pa­tients.

Se­cu­ri­ty guards hi­red for the day were on hand to en­sure that people wai­ted out­side un­til they were al­lo­wed in, a few at a time, to fill in pa­per­work.

At one point, an em­ployee dis­tri­bu­ted red ti­ckets to those wai­ting in the line out­side the cli­nic, lo­ca­ted at 1811, che­min Sainte-an­gé­lique. Ma­nyof those wai­ting were el­der­ly people. "Eve­ryone who got a ti­cket will get a spot with the doc­tor," Har­ri­son said, ex­plai­ning

Tam­my Wal­lace and Pe­ter Stadt­leh­ner wai­ted th­ree hours in the cold Mon­day mor­ning to se­cure a few of the 500 pa­tient ope­nings for a new fa­mi­ly doc­tor in Saint-la­zare.

that her husband will work in Saint-la­zare two and a half days a week.

In ad­di­tion to the 500 who re­cei­ved ti­ckets Mon­day, 1,200 of Dr. Har­ri­son’s exis­ting pa­tients from his L’île-per­rot prac­tice will conti­nue to see him at the ne­wof­fice.

Dr. Har­ri­son will al­so ac­cept 300 pa­tients from the Clsc­wai­ting list.

Me­di­cal re­lief

"I’m glad to be war­ming up," Vau­dreuilDo­rion re­sident Tam­my Wal­lace said when as­ked ho­wit felt to have made it in­side.

Wal­lace has not had a re­gu­lar fa­mi­ly doc­tor for the past five years, since she stop­ped seeing her re­gu­lar prac­ti­tio­ner in Montreal.

Saying the overw­hel­ming res­ponse in SaintLa­zare to­ward the new doc­tor was a "si­gn of the times," Wal­lace feels the go­vern­ment has to do­more to keep doc­tors in Quebec.

"We have to make it more at­trac­tive to prac­tice in Quebec, not place so ma­ny li­mi­ta­tions on doc­tors so they go to other pro­vinces to prac­tice me­di­cine," she no­ted.

And Pe­ter Stadt­leh­ner, who se­cu­red a spot with the new doc­tor for him­self, his wife and ol­der child, felt re­lief that most of his fa­mi­ly was going to be seen by one doc­tor.

Stadt­leh­ner, who still has to find a doc­tor for his youn­gest child since Dr. Har­ri­son is not ta­king pa­tients youn­ger than 16, said the fa­mi­ly was un­der the gun to find a new doc­tor as their West Is­land ba­sed fa­mi­ly prac­ti­tio­ner will re­tire in May.

"Now I just need to find a pe­dia­tri­cian for my11-year-old," he no­ted.

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