COLUMN: Health-care woes not hospital’s fault

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital is in crisis mode – bursting at the seams with patients being cared for in hallways and alcoves.

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital is in crisis mode – bursting at the seams with patients being cared for in hallways and alcoves.

Adult patients are even taking up space in the pediatric unit designed for sick children.

And that has caused doctors and parents to speak out, saying it’s not right to put children at risk.

But what is the hospital to do? Does it turn away people in need, despite having a space available on the children’s floor? Thankfully, I don’t think our health-care crisis has come to that.

I can understand the fears parents might have if their child is sick and in the hospital. But what about the family members of an adult in need of medical help? Are the fears of children of a sick senior any less real than the fears of parents of a sick child?

The hospital is between a rock and a hard place and must make the tough decisions. If a person needs to be hospitalized and that means lying in a bed in a hallway or in a room in the pediatric unit, so be it.

And if a sick child is admitted and needs that space, move the adult to the next best available space.

I have a family member in NRGH who has been in hospital for weeks and started her stay in the hallway of the emergency department. She has moved three times since then. Each move proves to be a bit of a challenge, but the one factor that hasn’t changed is the care she receives from doctors, nurses and therapists.

Everyone has done their best to make her stay as comfortable as possible. Everyone is doing their best under trying circumstances of too many patients and not enough space to put them. Yes, that’s their job, but it’s a lot to ask and even more for the public to understand when it appears loved ones are suffering or being neglected.

What one has to understand is the principle of life over limb. A person arriving in the ER with chest pains will jump the line over someone who has been waiting for an hour with a broken arm.

Almost 10 years to this month, I wrote a column of my mother’s time in hospital and how she was suffering in pain and the nurses were not responding to the call bell for help.

It turns out a man down the hall had stopped breathing. At that moment, saving his life was more important than my mother’s pain. As hard as it was to see her in pain, it must have been just as much a relief for the family of the man to see the doctors and nurses rush to save him.

That is how our health-care system works. It’s all about priority and in my few experiences of being sick, if it is a true emergency, the system is there for you.

If the hospital is full, then perhaps the circumstances of receiving care is less than ideal. But you still get care.

We can’t blame the doctors and nurses, hospital management or even the health authority.

The blame lies with the provincial government for years of neglect of the health-care system.

I know the provincial Liberals are pouring in millions of dollars into a new emergency department and have improved NRGH through its dialysis and pediatric units.

But as our population continues to grow and age, how long will it take for us to outgrow those new units?

The problem lies in people taking up acute-care beds in hospital while waiting for a space to open in a long-term care facility. The central-Island, like many areas of the province, lacks affordable care facilities for seniors and those with debilitating illnesses.

That is the real crisis in health care, and it has been ignored by government for years.

news@nanaimobulletin.com

Just Posted

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of June 6-12. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
New COVID-19 cases up on Island, but health officials say trends going right way

There were 22 new COVID-19 cases in Greater Victoria last week after just four the week before

Regional District of Nanaimo is looking to repair sewage pipe in the Hammond Bay Road area, which was corroded by gas. (Black Press file)
Corroded sewer pipe along Nanaimo’s Hammond Bay Road will cost $5.5 million to fix

Pipe replacement and reinforcement part of $6.9-million infrastructure project

Kimberly Bussiere and other laid-off employees of Casino Nanaimo have launched a class-action lawsuit against the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Laid-off Casino Nanaimo workers launch class-action lawsuit against corporation

Notice of civil claim filed on April 6 at Supreme Court of B.C. in Nanaimo

Beban Pool is expected to re-open Oct. 4 after a vote by councillors at a finance and audit committee meeting Wednesday, June 16. (News Bulletin file photo)
City of Nanaimo will re-open Beban Pool in October

User groups warn COVID-19 pool closures have left a gap in water safety education

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
Vancouver Island researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada: UVic professor

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

Most Read