Dr. Ron Matthews technically retired four years ago, but the former head of the ER at Langley Memorial Hospital (LMH) keeps getting called back into action.
“I jumped back in to vaccinate, at the LEC (Langley Events Centre COVID vaccine site),” Matthews explained.
“I had some clinical work (too).”
Matthews, who oversaw the local ER transition from a department run by family practice doctors, to a high-level trauma centre, was one of several retired medical professionals who dropped by historic Michaud House in Langley City on Saturday, May 28.
It was for the hospital’s heritage committee spring tea event for retired doctors and nurses, a fundraiser for the LMH museum at Michaud House.
Another Langley-based physician in attendance, who reported a busy retirement, was Dr. Hugh Aspinall. He has been keeping busy with “Scottish country dancing, swimming, and wood turning,” and volunteering with the Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society.
Volunteer drivers who transport cancer patients to their appointments get a modest sum for gas expenses, but “I have an electric car” Aspinall noted, so he donates back the gas money.
It was the first tea for the heritage committee since the pandemic, explained Dr. Elaine Mah, who chairs the heritage committee, and expects to retire in “two-ish years” herself.
“We actually tried to have one last September,” Mah told the Langley Advance Times, “but we got rained out.”
This time, the weather cooperated, allowing an outdoor tea on the front lawn of Michaud House, with live music.
“We’re trying to come out of the pandemic and welcome people to the great outdoors,” Mah remarked.
Langley author Doris Riedweg, a retired LMH nurse, was collecting contributions with a sanitized old-fashioned metal bedpan.
Riedweg wanted it known that the heritage committee is an all-volunteer effort that is not funded by the Fraser Health Authority.
“It’s all by donation,” she said.
Members of both Langley City and Township councils also attended, posing for a photo together at a shared table.
Michaud House is home to the LMH archival museum, which opened in 2017 with exhibits from the early days of the hospital.
Archival items in the museum collection include authentic old-style nurses’ uniforms, an antique wheelchair, the program from the official 1965 opening of the main Langley Memorial Hospital, and a variety of old-time medical probes, among other things.
Mah, who described herself as having a “deep feeling” for the past, views historical preservation as vital.
“Learning from the past is important to help us to go into the future,” she commented.
The LMH archival museum is open by appointment only, which can be arranged by phoning 604-510-4669, or by emailing email@example.com – which can also be used to arrange donations.
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