Kootenay Lake Hospital won’t have a resident ophthalmologist when Neville Maytom retires at the end of February. File photo

Nelson’s only ophthalmologist to retire in February

Dr. Neville Maytom says Interior Health has no plans to replace him

Nelson’s only ophthalmologist is about to retire, and the Interior Health Authority has no plans to replace him.

Neville Maytom, who has practised in the West Kootenay for 30 years, said in a letter to patients dated Sept. 27 that he intends to retire at the end of February.

In the letter, which is attached to the end of this story, Maytom writes about his concerns that his position won’t be filled even though someone has expressed interesting in taking over his practice.

“It has been clear to me over the period of my career that there is enough work for three ophthalmologists in the West Kootenay, and many of these patients are from Nelson and communities north of here as far as Nakusp and Meadow Creek.”

Maytom declined to comment further when contacted by the Star.

Ophthalmology is the school of medicine focused on eye disorders and treatment including surgery.

Maytom added in his letter there is also currently no after-hours emergency surgery available at Nelson’s Kootenay Lake Hospital for ophthalmology patients.

A spokesperson for Interior Health said in a statement they are exploring opportunities to have their two ophthalmologists in Trail provide services in Nelson, and that surgical ophthalmology services will still be provided at Kootenay Lake Hospital.

“Two ophthalmologists in Trail are able to see patients from across the Kootenay Boundary and the new ophthalmologist in Trail is accepting referrals,” the statement said.

“There is currently a minimal wait to get in to see an ophthalmologist in the Kootenay Boundary.”

Winlaw resident Kurt Hilger is concerned that could change once Maytom retires.

Hilger has been one of Maytom’s patients for his entire tenure in Nelson, and says the doctor has always been immediately available in an emergency.

“He puts everything aside to see me,” said Hilger.

Hilger has already written to Interior Health expressing his concerns about the lack of an ophthalmology replacement in Nelson. He recalls one year when neither Maytom nor the two ophthalmologists were available for an emergency call.

“The doctors in the emergency room, basically they told me what I already knew but they couldn’t do a thing. They said, ‘Oh, drive to Kelowna.’ Well, yeah, I can barely see. I’m going to drive to Kelowna in the middle of winter over the Paulson?”

Hilger ended up flying to Vancouver for treatment.

“The point is if there are only two ophthalmologists, how many more times is there going to be no ophthalmologist available?”

Maytom’s impending retirement has also caught the attention of new Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison, who said in a statement Wednesday that although it is a provincial matter he agrees with Maytom’s concerns.

Related:

LETTER: IHA won’t replace retiring Nelson ophthalmologist



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

RDKB issues evacuation alert for 1,100 Boundary properties

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

RDKB launches survey to address housing needs in the district

Communities in the district include Trail, Grand Forks, Rossland and Fruitvale

Possible Kermode Bear spotted near Castlegar

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run on May 27

Stolen truck found in Christina Lake

Family happy the vehicle was found

Two more Johnson Flats properties given evacuation alerts

Forecast graphs for Boundary rivers show another spike for week of June 1

Vancouver Island bride held wedding in seniors home so dying stepdad could walk her down aisle

Ceremony held amidst pandemic in order to fulfill bride’s wish to have stepdad give her away

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

Suspect in West Kootenay gas station stabbing found dead

Police say the 30-year-old suspect stabbed a Montrose gas station employee

$200,000 Maybach impounded after ‘L’ driver caught excessively speeding in Vancouver

Meanwhile, the supervisor sat in the passenger seat, police said

COVID-19 cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a B.C. mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Yukon ready to lift COVID travel restrictions with B.C. in July: premier

Premier Sandy Silver says the territory’s health-care system can cope with the virus.

‘It is dire:’ Study finds B.C. logging continues on critical caribou habitat

The federal Species At Risk Act requires provinces to identify critical habitat for caribou herds

Grieving together, but apart: How funeral homes are handling the pandemic

‘Hugs are so important and right now hugs can’t happen’

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Most Read