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02/15/06

Permalink 09:07:05 am, by Mickael Maddison Email , 617 words   en-CA
Categories: News and Announcements

Welcome to Emergency, please wait over there.

First off, this posting is in no way intended to cast a negative light on the hard working staff at Royal Inland Hospital. The people on the front lines are the ones whom have to face the excessive pressures of trying to work in an environment that is often stressful and overburdened.

If you are expecting a medical emergency, you may want to call ahead and book an appointment. Or better yet, keep a helicopter in your back yard, so you can go to Vernon, Kelowna, or Vancouver. There is something that's not working well in the emergency department at RIH.

Last Friday I had the pleasure of sitting in the emergency waiting room for over 5hrs. There was a sick little girl lying on the floor covered in a blanket. A construction worker with his hand wrapped in a huge ball of gauze after some sort of injury sat with a friend. Other sick kids in parents arms, and at least a half dozen others and their supporting families filled the majority of the chairs in the waiting room. With a variety of ailments, it's hard to tell what is urgent and what is not, but we were all there for the same reason. We needed to see a doctor as soon as possible.

The scene in the waiting room reminded me of news broadcasts of poor hospital conditions in far poorer areas of the world, or perhaps coverage during an epidemic where a hospital is overwhelmed by an extreme number of patients. This is not the case here, however. The newly finished emergency room being flooded is not unusual; in fact, word around the waiting room is that a 3hr wait is quite normal here in Kamloops.

It seemed quite apparent that there were either not enough staff present to deal with the patient load, or the system is not being managed to handle it. Whatever the case, there were no beds available for over 5 hrs. The nurse that received me was friendly and considerate, but obviously tired and stressed with the workload. We overheard mention of not having had any dinner breaks.

Most of the next 2 hours was waiting for tests and then waiting for the results. I'm no expert in the field, but it seemed to me the beds in emergency were filled with the same patients for longer than they should have been, including mine. In fact, with the beds being in such a shortage perhaps there were some of us that could have been treated in chairs?

I was at RIH for more than 7 hours. Thankfully for us my wife went down to the hospital cafeteria before it closed for the day, or else we'd have had even less than our cheese scones to eat for dinner. Well I suppose that's not entirely true, we could have filled up on chocolate bars and pop.

I do feel that the staff did their best to deal with my situation, I do not feel the system is safe. There's still a serious problem with timely health care in this town. It can take 2-5 days to get in and see your family doctor. You can wait 3-5hrs to get into a walk-in clinic, if you're able to get in before they post their "no more for today" sign. Getting referred to a specialist or having special tests done can take months.

This is not good for our country, and it's not good for our city. It's not good for our confidence, our economy, or our image. Health care is important to Canadians. We need our government to setup up and make it work. If not for us, at least for themselves too.

Mickael Maddison

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