8 months after losing their doctor, Fogo Island getting a new one, says deputy mayor
Since June, Fogo Island has not had a permanent doctor. The island had locums for the past several months, but no consistent service.
That's about to change.
In an interview with the St. John's Telegram earlier this week, Dr. Maureen Gibbons confirmed she will make the move, in April. "I'm looking forward to a mutually caring and rewarding relationship with the people of Fogo," she told the newspaper.
When Fogo Island lost its last doctor in June, it marked the first time since 1792 the community didn't have a physician.
Residents had to board the ferry and travel to Gander if there was no locum, even in emergencies.
Deputy Mayor Sandy Crawford said there was usually about two days a week that they didn't have service.
"It's been a struggle," said Crawford.
Even with one physician it was difficult, said Crawford, since they have to act as a family doctor and provide 24/7 emergency service.
Crawford, who has lived on Fogo Island, said he would be "hard pressed" to remember a time when the island had more than one doctor.
Reaction in the town has been positive. Crawford said.
"It's excitement, it's relief. Big sigh of relief from people," he said, adding it's been a "long battle."
"I hope this is the end of our battle," he said. "With our new doctor coming we are super-excited to meet her and help her in any way we can."