News | DrumhellerMail - Page #16
Last updateThu, 25 May 2023 4pm

Obstetrics patients temporarily diverted from Drumheller Health Centre

Hospital Main Entrance

Drumheller Health Centre is diverting obstetrical patients between Thursday, May 4 and Tuesday, May 16 due to “ongoing staffing challenges,” according to a letter from Alberta Health Services (AHS).
During this period, obstetrical patients who are in labour will still receive assessment at the emergency department of the Drumheller Health Centre and will then be diverted to another facility for an in-hospital delivery; if it is not safe to transfer a patient, or if delivery is imminent, a physician may travel with the patient by ambulance, or the patient may be transferred to another facility following delivery.
“We recognize that such diversions can be concerning for both patients and our teams,” reads a statement from Alberta Health Services. “This is a necessary measure at this time in the interest of patient safety.”
Dr. Rithesh Ram of Riverside Medical tells the Mail this is not the first time a diversion has taken place, and says it is not for a lack of physicians. He adds the diversion is “horrible” and “very disheartening,” for both patients and physicians.
“Physicians are available to work, this is an operations and scheduling issue (at an AHS level),” Dr. Ram says.
Dr. Laurel Smith, a practicing obstetrician and gynecologist at Drumheller Associated Physicians, also echoed the diversion is not because of physician shortages, but rather due to a lack of obstetrical nursing staff at the hospital.
“We are providing office care and will be available for assessment at the hospital during this diversion,” Dr. Smith said in a statement to the Mail.
While the statement from AHS notes there are about two or three patients who are anticipated to deliver within the two week diversion period, Dr. Smith notes these are only the patients who are due.
She says, in the nature of obstetrics, the true number of patients impacted by the diversion could be much higher, and acknowledges the additional stress and anxiety the diversion can have on both the patient and physician.
Dr. Ram feels the biggest concern is that the Drumheller Health Centre is not on the radar of Alberta Health Services.
Earlier this year, in April, the Alberta government and AHS announced the Alberta Surgical Initiative, which will provide $80 million in funding in the 2023 provincial budget to expand surgical capacity in 15 communities.
However, despite efforts by the Drumheller Standing Committee on Health to advocate the Drumheller Health Centre as a rural healthcare hub, the facility was not included among those communities, and Dr. Ram says this ties directly into the diversion.
Despite the diversion, obstetrical patients who are in labour are encouraged to report to the emergency department at the Drumheller Health Centre where they will be assessed prior to transfer. Currently, patients are being diverted to Stettler or Red Deer for obstetrical care, including high risk and cesarean sections.

Wheatland County Reeve CAO vehicles vandalized


Two vehicles belonging to the Reeve and Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) of Wheatland County were vandalized in what appears to be a targeted attack.
The vandalisms took place on the evening of Wednesday, April 5 between the hours of 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. at the Namaka Community Hall while Wheatland County Reeve Amber Link and CAO Brian Henderson were attending a public consultation meeting.
Strathmore RCMP Detachment Commander Staff Sergeant Mark Wielgosz says although some investigative work has been carried out on this file, there is not a lot of information available at this time due to a lack of witnesses and security footage. He adds the vehicles sustained some “fairly deep scratches,” but was unable to comment further about the damages.
A post made by Reeve Link’s husband, Kevin Link, was shared to several area discussion groups alleging the vandalism was targeted and was a result of recent community engagement presentations put on by the Wheatland Housing Management Body (WHMB) and Wheatland and Area Hospice Society (WAHS) regarding construction of the proposed new seniors lodge in Strathmore.
“This travelling road show seemed more about making individual councillors look bad, and sowing seeds of discord in the public than it was about collaborating to build a new lodge,” the post states. “These lies shared to the public by representatives of this board has created much unnecessary and unfairly targeted anger.”
Mr. Link alleges in the post Reeve Link has received several “angry phone calls,” “rude letters,” and there has also been discussion and directives from other municipal councils regarding recall legislation “for certain county councillors.”
The Mail reached out to CAO Henderson and Reeve Link for comment, however, CAO Henderson declined to give comment as this matter has been turned over to RCMP; no response was received from Reeve Link by press time.
S/Sgt Wielgosz encourages anyone with information regarding the vandalisms to contact the Strathmore RCMP detachment at 403-934-3968.

Alberta declares provincial state of emergency

Alberta Emergency Alert Logo.svg

In response to the threat of multiple wildfires burning throughout the province, Alberta has declared a provincial state of emergency to ensure the safety, health and welfare of Albertans.

Emergency responders are working around the clock to keep people safe and reduce the threat to homes and infrastructure.

Under the Emergency Management Act, declaring a state of emergency is a legal mechanism that provides the provincial government with a higher level of intergovernmental coordination, around the clock monitoring of the situation, access to emergency discretionary funds, the ability to mobilize additional supports and continue working with municipalities, organizations and businesses to support evacuated residents.

The Emergency Management Cabinet Committee continues to meet regularly to respond to the current wildfire situation across the province. Cabinet continues to have decision-making abilities, and will make decisions as needed to deal with this emergency situation.

The ministries involved in the Emergency Management Cabinet Committee include Alberta Public Safety and Emergency Services, Alberta Skilled Trades and Professions, Alberta Infrastructure, Alberta Treasury Board and Finance, Alberta Municipal Affairs, Alberta Health, Alberta Forestry, Parks and Tourism, Alberta Seniors, Community and Social Services, Alberta Indigenous Relations, Alberta Transportation and Economic Corridors, Alberta Agriculture and Irrigation and Alberta Energy.

Department officials will continue providing daily technical briefings to the media and the public as this situation continues to evolve. A daily situation report will also be issued via news release.

The most up-to-date evacuation information is available at, Alberta Emergency Alert or by downloading the Alberta Emergency Alert mobile app, which immediately pushes all alerts out to subscribers. Albertans seeking information or supports can call 310-4455.

Anyone who has been evacuated due to wildfires is asked to register at local reception centres or at


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