Just when I thought I was “done” with hospitals on the heels of my father passing away almost five years ago, I had a recent “opportunity” to re-experience this horror-filled reality. Yikes is the only (polite) word to describe our treatment – or lack thereof.
My cousin needed to be hospitalized in the same institution that housed him in 2003. To say the place has gone severely downhill since is an under-statement. Wow.
Shunted From Pillar to Post
Wheeled into Emergency by ambulance, wonderful paramedics signed us in. After they (regrettably) left, at last his stretcher was carted from a drafty hallway into a freezing room not much warmer (or kinder) than a meat-packing plant. The only “breaks” out were for a CAT SCAN and chest X-ray. Probably 5 hours after arrival, we were transported to a noisy, overly-bright and inappropriately-exposed large room. At least the temperature was better.
We spent 8 excruciating hours in what he and I jointly call “hurry up and wait” mode. Because I clocked it, I can definitively tell you that anything close to resembling “action” (useless tests, minimal staff monitoring) happened in two-hour increments. Doctor #1 checked in for less than five minutes at hour three. Doctor #2 finally deigned to arrive at his bedside well beyond hour seven. One could literally die while waiting for real medical attention!
Ignored and Overlooked
That is, unless one kicks up a fuss! Maybe that was our “mistake”! My hawk-eye spotted (and heard) a woman yelling “nurse, nurse” every five minutes. Yes, I timed her outcries. She received many check-ins. Meanwhile, we languished in quiet despair. I guess we didn’t bleed or scream enough. The only times I took minutes out of the Hell-hole were to retrieve food and drink for my parched and hungry relative. Gosh knows, no one offered him a drop all that time.
Let’s Not Congratulate Ourselves, OK?
Ironically, Canada’s medical system is lauded south of the border. Sure, we receive “free” care. That is, until the bill arrives for the “scenic” ambulance ride and any other monies that can be squeezed out of the beleaguered tax payer.
After this “episode”, I would support this nation’s consideration of a paid model. At least the patient might receive some true service!
All I can say is, anyone who deludes themselves that things will not become exponentially worse in coming years with an aging Canadian (and global) population would be soundly advised to immediately get a hold of my latest book, Coping with Un-cope-able Systems: ADVOCACY for Eldercare. You can find it at www.copingwithuncopeableparents.com.
Stay tuned for the next installment in this nightmare…