Travel ex­penses not a big is­sue

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - EDITORIAL -

There has been much chat­ter about ac­cess to abor­tion on P.E.I., and how women have to travel off­Is­land for a provin­cially-cov­ered abor­tion, and at great per­sonal ex­pense. To that I say join the club. My fam­ily suf­fers from a lifethreat­en­ing bleed­ing dis­or­der and we have no hema­tol­o­gist for spe­cial­ized care here on P.E.I. and haven't for many years. In fact, we have to travel to Hal­i­fax twice a year for check-ups at the IWK He­ma­tol­ogy Dept., and again for an adult ap­point­ment which we try to co-or­di­nate to be on the same day as the child's ap­point­ment. This is not­with­stand­ing any emer­gency trips that in­vari­ably oc­cur with our fam­ily sit­u­a­tion.

Th­ese ex­penses, bridge, gas, ho­tel, meals, all come out-of pocket as many times a year as nec­es­sary, mainly due to not hav­ing ac­cess to such a spe­cial­ist here on P.E.I. We have been ad­vo­cat­ing for one, but to no avail. We also have to see a spe­cial­ist in Monc­ton twice a year. I'm sure many Is­lan­ders have sim­i­lar is­sues or sto­ries to tell.

I think back to my father in New­found­land, when he suf­fered a res­pi­ra­tory is­sue. St. John's was the near­est hos­pi­tal (8-10 hours away) and only place that was equipped to deal with his block­ages and pend­ing surgery.

My mother had to find al­ter­nate trans­porta­tion to get there, find some­where to stay for the four weeks he was there, eat, etc. All of this was not govern­ment funded.

So be­fore we cry too loudly about hav­ing to travel 1.5 hours, and that we should take the govern­ment to court over equal ac­cess for all, maybe we should con­sider the fact that an hour and half isn't re­ally all that far, and that you can try claim­ing your med­i­cal ex­penses in­curred come in­come tax time. JoAnn Craig, Char­lot­te­town

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