Getting Medical Help in Hull (Gatineau) Québec – or not

Eddy Street, looking South from Frontenac, Hull Québec.

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Below: Rajah (left) and Traveler. Rajah, rescued from abusive owners when he was a year or so, is now 20 years old, deaf as a post and arthritic. Traveler is a one-year-old son of another rescue cat who came my way. His mom and siblings went to good homes, and Traveler, despite his name, has stayed with me.

These guys are my best friends and are a true source of comfort as I’m dealing with the astonishingly awful medical system here.

I’m prone to depression, have level 10 misophonia and a slew of medical disorders, some not even recognized in this province (!) even though they are in others. The Hull (Gatineau) Québec medical system is so backward that the Hull hospital was declared to be the worst Emergency department in the Western world. Ottawa piled money into it. Some of that may have trickled down, but my experiences there became worse instead of better, and I am sure somebody in management is driving a new car. Nah, Im not vindictive. I know how these things go.

If you need a family doctor you will wait at least three years, and that is the short list – for people with chronic conditions, life-threatening diseases, mental health issues such as depression or anxiety, or pregnancy.  Even if you are a pregnant elephant you`d be getting your doctor just as the calf is reaching its first birthday. A pregnant woman? Hold your legs together honey, it’s only a couple more years. At least you save money on diapers.

The severity of your medical condition is based on how many times you visit the hospital. Now that`s enough to shoot one`s anxiety levels through the roof. Doctors don`t want to work at Gatineau or Hull hospitals due to the situation. They are overworked, the province forces them to take on more patients than they can handle and makes false promises that more doctors will be arriving soon. Um. No. This has been going on for years. And for one reason or another, some of these local docs are downright nasty.  I’ll be elaborating on that later.

As for minor or outpatient surgery … this sends chills down my spine. A few years ago an outbreak of flesh-eating disease at Hull Hospital left one friend with huge chunks of flesh torn out of his leg, and had he not still been IN the hospital at the time, he would have lost his leg or died – which, sadly, happened to a friend`s girlfriend, who was in for minor surgery but had already been released when the disease struck. It travels fast. RIP, poor girl.

Clinics do not accept walk-ins. You will get vigorously snarled at if you presume to think that you will get a doc at a clinic. In all of Hull there is one clinic open to the public and you have to get there early to see a medical practicioner. One of the doctors working there is a known (convicted) pedophile. Yet he`s still practicing medicine in the same place. Bievenue a Hull.

Language wars are alive and well in this province, and none worse than in the Québec medical system. I speak English, German and some French. However, the french spoken in Gatineau is nowhere near the French spoken in France – it`s just about a different language, replete with appropriated and recycled English words, local dialects and nasal slang, often spoken with machine-gun-like rapidity at the top of the lungs. If you do not speak this language (which some folks call Gatinese) you could have a tough time. I’ve witnessed more than a few altercations as some french-speaking store clerks or even people on the street can take offense at the English language. Unfortunately, the problem persists even at a higher level, ie the medical system.

I was bowled over by a man in a local shop whose French was immaculate. I understood him perfectly and expressed my astonishment, to which he smiled and said, “Yes … I’m from Algeria.”

Unfortunately, if you do not speak the language, you are faced with extremely limited resources in the medical system. The refusal of the system to honor my request for English communication (request for English did exist at one time, but now does not) caused and continues to cause major health havoc for me. Now there are very good and competent doctors and medical staff, and I have been fortunate to encounter some of these dear angels, but for every one who can help you, there are ten that are more likely to kill you. If you are moving to Hull … well … bonne chance!


Well, I’m on a public computer and the Library is closing so I’ve got to cut this short. Have a happy day!

Love all



Author: M Sylvia Chaume

Hi! I'm Canadian artist Sylvia, living in beautiful Gatineau (Hull) Canada! Please also visit my visual arts home decor store for gifts, original art, novelties and dynamic nature themes at* . Thank you and many happy blessings! . As a person with a multitude of interests and a great love of art, I work in photography, video, and other visual arts; music and songwriting, theater, mixed media, content writing, text art, rock art and sculpture. I'm a big fan of black and white art. My hobbies include geology and wildlife biology. I have two cats: Rajah, an old deaf fellow with arthritis, and Traveler, a young tom whose mom was my rescue cat! He was one of a litter of four. We found homes for everyone else but Traveler, despite his name, decided to stay with me. Ok, then. Last summer I documented a nest of European Paper Wasps right outside my back door and look forward to showing you some amazing video clips of these elegant intelligent insects. I also created several "swamps-in-a-jar" and have some footage of the mystic and fascinating creepy critters that may be found in your drains, pipes and standing water. I love the artwork of Nature as well as art that pushes limits and challenges the senses; Pop Art, photo art, any kind of collage, classic and contemporary kitsch; black and white, monochrome. My environment is my favorite subject matter - local scenes, urban streets, small town quirks, seasonal happenings, natural textures, gardens, flowers, animals, the nice and not so nice - what is real - souvenir photos and other original art gifts and products you can get at my spiffy online store: Subject matter covers a broad range including micro and macro, gardens and flowers, nature, natural beauty and the power of the elements; critters of many kinds; coffee; comedy, entertainment; social observations; documentation; tourist hot spots in this area, practical info, funny stuff and irreverent rantings; to whit - fun and good cheer! I'm a hockey fan and love a good game, but would rather watch it than play it. Favorite music includes blues, swing, punk, classic rock, classical music. I play some guitar and A professional writer, I've written original articles and website content, plays, poetry, fiction and non, musical theatre, songs, haiku, and some very non-Zen personal expressions about whatever nags my obsessive little mind. I adore and appreciate my readers, and welcome all feedback. Here you will find tips, details and lots of information about artistic expression, photo techniques, writing, social commentary, historical and modern architecture, music, cats, other animals great and small; the magic of serendipity; dreams, happiness, love and relationships; medicinal and wild edible plants; philosophy, motivational quotes and amusing anecdotes. Having spent the summer documenting a nest of European paper wasps through photo and video you can be sure I'll be sharing what I've learned, as well as advice about not getting stung! So, topics tend to be eclectic. I sincerely hope you'll join me here. Happy blessings one and all!

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