Submitted by frigid_tit t3_10nwv9i in Maine

My cousin is going back home to Maine and bringing her disabled daughter. Her only worry is her daughter has quite a bit of medical issues and she wants to ensure her kid can get to the right doctors in aroostook county. Her daughter's conditions include intellectual disability, asthma, bipolar, severe myopia, chronic fatigue syndrome, hypothyroidism, gerd, rhotacism, poor balance, and hypodontia.



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Guygan t1_j6bchuw wrote

Like all extremely rural areas, there are no large hospitals and doctors are scarce. If I had a child with serious medical needs, Aroostook would be the last place in Maine I’d want to be.


Trilliam_West t1_j6bqlw8 wrote

Short answer, no. I wouldn't live in Aroostook County if you have any health concerns you consider more complex than something a GP/PCP and pharmacist can handle. I'd probably stick to the Bangor area if possible.


-DIL- t1_j6cl5f4 wrote

This would really depend on how frequently medical intervention is needed. There are lots of people up here with serious conditions, but they generally travel to Bangor or Portland for the complicated care/procedures. If your cousin has lived in Aroostook County before she will be plenty familiar with the capabilities of local medicine.


yupuhoh t1_j6benlz wrote

Depends what part of the county. I'd suggest staying close to Bangor and have your medical needs taken care of there


runner64 t1_j6ehd54 wrote

As someone who lives in Bangor- your needs will not be taken care of here. Northern Light owns every practice in town and they are a joke. I waited months for a urology appointment only to have the urologist tell me to just ask my GP for painkillers. EMMC fucked up their billing so bad that 6 months worth of procedures and follow up appointments were sent to my insurance as one $35,000 line-item marked “etc.” I spent eighteen months being repeatedly sent to collections and having my credit score trashed because they can’t get their shit together. The entire medical complex has one phone number which will connect you to a random operator out of state somewhere, with no way to escalate or speak to anyone knowledgeable if something goes wrong, which it will.

tl;dr if you need urgent care, mental health services, or rely on insurance to help cover costs, Bangor’s not the place to be


yupuhoh t1_j6ei0ha wrote

Never had a problem. Lifelong resident of searsport until moving to caribou. Back surgeries. Kidney surgeries. Major car accident in a coma for 5 days and between Belfast and Bangor they saved my life. You got screwed for sure. Everyone up here goes to Bangor for anything severe.


Runnah5555 t1_j6bvh1n wrote

I think they still use leeches and potions up there.


ToesocksandFlipflops t1_j6cmnqh wrote

While I get your general point leeches are still medically used today, by major hospitals and are very very helpful for limb/digit reattachment.


lantech t1_j6czr7o wrote

potions and various concoctions are also very common in major hospitals.


CapsizedKayak t1_j6d0fvk wrote

It will be a big challenge. Maine has a dearth of providers for kids with intellectual disability, especially in rural areas. Some of her medical conditions, which I assume require specialist care, are almost certainly going to require trips to Portland or Boston for management. I would also worry about access to emergency care that is equipped to deal with a kid with these needs. Aside from all that, it may be hard to access services in the school system. I would think really hard about this move.


athermalwill t1_j6d1lxb wrote

Maine as a whole has questionable medical care.


runner64 t1_j6ejakn wrote

If you are planning to “just go into Bangor for medical care” as many are suggesting, please know that everyone in Northern / Western Maine has the same idea, and Bangor does not have the infrastructure. The wait time for appointments here is weeks to months. My daughter had a toothache and it took five weeks to see a dentist. The system is very much overwhelmed.
My daughter also has special needs at school. She was asked to leave pre-k due to behavioral issues and it took us six months before there was an opening at a specialized facility. I have family members insist to me “the schools have to accommodate her disability, it’s the law” but the law can’t force special education teachers to move here and work.

(Plz note that I am very aware that ‘I’m not in traffic, I am traffic’ and I’m not blaming outsiders or anything. Everyone deserves healthcare.)


Majestic-Feedback541 t1_j6bkh28 wrote

If she absolutely needs to move here id highly recommend York county. If it were me, I'd stay where all her drs know and have treated her conditions are.


trutknoxs t1_j6d3z52 wrote

York or Cumberland for sure. If she stays in southern maine, there is a good network of schools that can help care for the child. They are The Margaret Murphy Centers for Children. Highly recommend.


schenk-n-stein t1_j6d5xna wrote

No. Most people end up moving to Southern Maine or out of state if they have medical issues. Most major medical surgeries, treatments, etc. are done Bangor south. There are some mental health facilities in Aroostook, I think NMMC has the only pediatric psych ward in Aroostook, the next closest is Bangor. Aroostook is beautiful, senic, and a great place to live in a fairly safe environment, but it's a nightmare for medical care.


HaziRN t1_j6di31i wrote

Maine Medical in Portland is the only level 1 trauma center in the state. This is the highest level of care a hospital can provide. If the child is requiring an admission to a pediatric intensive care unit(PICU), your local hospital is very likely to try and transfer you there. PICU beds have been tight all over the country, but frequently Maine Med is the last open PICU bed in New England. The hospital might not have room to accept the transfer. This could lead to potentially not getting the care the child needs from specialists rural hospitals do not have. If I had a medically complex child I would want to make sure I lived within driving distance from a large higher level of care center such as Maine Med in Portland.


Tronbronson t1_j6d0gzx wrote

I've found it difficult to find health care for my needs in southern maine. In proximity to brand new hospitals. I'm gonna imagine if you go past Bangor it's going to be really hard to get a medical team for all of those needs.


MistakeVisual3733 t1_j6bdbve wrote

None of those things by themselves are super concerning but all together might be a bit much for providers in the county. How old is the daughter?


spacechaser64 t1_j6cm6ln wrote

I have Muscular Dystrophy and have to go to Boston from time to time. Luckily it's less than once a year but if I had to go often I would personally move to the Portland area for easier and quicker access to Mass General

Aroostic is to big and out of the way. If you lived in Presque Isle half your trip to Boston would be just trying to leave the state


Guygan t1_j6cmuiq wrote

> If you lived in Presque Isle half your trip to Boston would be just trying to leave the state

More like 7/8s


Smitch250 t1_j6e56cl wrote

Lol this person has obviously never been to the county. 7/8 is probably pretty close to accurate. My guess would be 13/16


dinah-fire t1_j6ds4f4 wrote

Anyone I know with complex issues has had to go to Boston to get competent care. I love this state, and if your health needs are basic and uncomplicated, it's fine, but healthcare here is.. not good.


Guygan t1_j6be66d wrote

> rhotacism

That’s not a disease or a medical condition.


AdjNounNumbers t1_j6bi9uy wrote

Pronouncing the letter R at all in pahts of Maine could be considered a disability


CrunchyCheezPuffs t1_j6cs515 wrote

Seriously. The complexity is truly in the first three conditions, and depends on severity & current control, history of hospitalizations or not - before anyone could provide accurate advice about local PCP care. Most psych med mgmt is done remotely/telehealth by PMHNPs in the area.

The community and school supports for her ID would be of my biggest concern, personally.


DidDunMegasploded t1_j6e4bw2 wrote

As someone who had a friend who required trips to Boston for her own disabilities and illnesses...the more southern in the state you go, the better.


anonreddituser78 t1_j6dok0y wrote

No. My grandmother ended up having her body ravaged by cancer after several missed/failed diagnoses. She had been unwell for months. Eventually, they determined that she had had bladder cancer, but by that point, it had metastasized and spread throughout her body. She ultimately succumbed to lung cancer.


mizshellytee t1_j6cqawc wrote

I think your cousin and her daughter would be better off closer to Bangor or Portland than anywhere in The County(TM).


Moot_n_aboot t1_j6ej84i wrote

The county has a few small tertiary hospitals and one “major” hospital at AR Gould. They can cover the basics of normal care, lab work, radiology and most emergencies. For any specialty care you’re going to be driving to Bangor. The county has few specialists due to the low population and pay for providers so most people refer to specialists down in Bangor for anything outside of general care. I would recommend your cousin contact the hospital closest to her and ensure she can establish a relationship with any needed providers prior to moving up there so she isn’t caught in a bind at the last minute.

Just to add as well, I’d they have pets you’re screwed on fixing decent vet care. Almost none of the very few clinics are taking new patients right now.


countofbluecars t1_j6cwvm1 wrote

When my parents got older, lifelong County residents, had to move to the Bangor area for healthcare reasons. They were going to Bangor so often for care, it just made sense.


CrouchingGinger t1_j6ei3qj wrote

I have a buddy in the county who goes to the VA in Augusta because otherwise 🤷‍♀️


RNprn t1_j6er5ck wrote

I'm a RN, and I'm also a complicated patient. I'd would (and have) lived in the County without any major concerns. If I did need an appt or procedure from a specialist that's not available there, I'd just drive down to Bangor. EMHS offers most specialties. And, of course, if it was an emergent situation they could also transfer your cousin's daughter to EMMC.


Justanormalsloth55 t1_j6fgixo wrote

I have a lot of friends there and they all said it’s below average


tobascodagama t1_j6i4xqz wrote

Aroostook and Washington counties both have really poor access to medical services. That's been true for a long time, but it's gotten significantly worse due to COVID-related burnout driving people out of medical professions.