The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how people receive health care services. For Donna Wiegle, director of the Mill Pond Health Center in Maine, and cervical cancer survivor and patient with ovarian cancer, the pandemic hasn’t yet changed how her island’s health center provides residents with routine care.
The approximately 350 year-round residents of Swan’s Island, a small island near Acadia National Park off the coast of Maine, have received routine medical care from the Mill Pond Health Center for the last 13 years. And although the new coronavirus pandemic, also known as COVID-19, has altered how people receive health care everywhere, the health center’s director — a patient with cancer herself – tells CURE® that it will stay open and continue to provide care for as long as it can.
CURE® spoke with Donna Wiegle, a survivor of cervical cancer who is currently battling ovarian cancer, about her cancer journey as well as the precautions the center is taking to ensure the safety of its patients. Additionally, Wiegle offers insight into why, even as she may be at more risk for the virus as a patient with cancer, she has not decided to close the island’s only health center.
“I've given this a lot of thought about my own risk to stay working, because this is entirely my decision,” she said. “I recognize that we need health services that other communities have readily available to them. What we have is very minimal to begin with … (and) I feel that my community has come to depend on me over all these years and I don't want to let them down.”