Well my day started as normal, but did not stay that way for long. I know that the Harper government has made cuts to the hospitals, but the people in the Lasalle General Emergency observation area were just out-and-out unprofessional, rude and seemed ready and willing to make their patients suffer for the budget cuts, by delivering little or no service to the patient. I was called by a friend on my cellphone in extreme pain that she said ran down the back of her backside on the left side all the way to the bottom of her calf on the same time. When I got to her house she could not stand up to go to the bathroom and asked me to call 911 for her and get an ambulance. I called they said up to 3 hours wait and I cringed for her she was in horrific pain and none of the medications were working. They came in just under on hour and were courteous, helpful and professional. They exhibited empathy and a sense of caring for the patient, even though they were in a work to rule part of their negotiations for contract disputes with the government and it was a pleasure for my friend to be in their care, because they cared enough and were professional enough to put patient care and suffering ahead of their fight with their employers.
When we arrived at the Lasalle Hospital on Monday, July 30th, 2012 at approximately 12pm in the afternoon, by ambulance my friend was in such agony we had to go by ambulance. My friend could not get up without severe pain and screamed just getting into to the special transport wheel chair and cried at every step down to the stretcher. When asked to get onto the stretcher the effort almost made her pass out and the ride to the hospital itself had her moaning in agony as the ambulance crossed over the many pot holes in the streets. With God’s mercy she did not have to get back off the stretcher to enter the hospital and her registration went well and she was put into bed 16 in the emergency observation department of the Lasalle Hospital and from this point on the nightmare began that would last for almost 10 hours and end with my friend having her medicare card and hospital card thrown in her face by the emergency coordinator, in front of doctors, nurses, orderlies and even patients and their families. No one stepped up to say that is inappropriate behaviour on his part in fact one doctor waded in offering her opinion of the situation in profanity while walking away.
How could this escalate to this situation one might ask? What could make a person in agony get up and demand her cards back? What could make a whole hospital unit stand by and watch as what should be a simple request to have ones property returned escalate into a screaming match between hospital staff and a patient, verbal cursing by a doctor to a patient that is not her’s to show support for a fellow worker in public, the cursing of a coordinator by a patient for refusing to return said cards and for then throwing the cards at the patient? I would answer frustration by all and the unprofessional manner of the staff at the emergency observation department, in the Lasalle Hospital at the time of the incident. I also thing that the increasing pain as the medication wears off while you wait in an uncomfortable hospital bed, unable to get anything for pain until you are seen by a doctor does not help after 5 hours, 7 hours and then finally 10 hours and you are being told to be quiet, take a Tylenol, there is nothing we can do until you see a doctor and there is only one in the whole of emergency and that doctor is overwhelmed with case far more important than yours, was part of the problem. The fact that the coordinator was telling people to write to the Prime Minister about the recent cuts in their budgets did not help, but just made one feel that you, in your agony were being used to send the federal government a message, kind of like the hospital staff was using the patients as a human shield in its war against the government.
I watched in horror hour after hour as the patients in my friend’s room and her were told toi be quiet and suffer in silence, by nurses and orderlies and take comfort that they were not the only ones waiting for such a long time to see a doctor and to get medication to ease their pain and that there was no way to determine when they would be seeing a doctor and when they could expect any relief. When they started to put people to sleep with pills is when my friend realised that she was not going to see a doctor anytime soon and decided that if she was going to not see a doctor then she would rather wait at home in her own bed, be free to take her pain medication and go somewhere else in the morning. When I wheeled her to the desk the coordinator took it as a personal slight that someone would dare to say that they wanted their hospital and medicare card back, were dissatisfied with the service and would never return to the Lasalle Hospital Emergency Department again. It was here at this point where they tried to get my friend to sign a waiver releasing them for anything that might happen to her, but she had not seen a doctor and so was not refusing to take a doctor’s advice and refused to sign and again demanded her cards. So upset with her was he that he ripped the hospital card off of the chart and threw it in her face. By this point I was telling him that if he threw one more thing in her direction I would cause him bodily harm and he was rising to meet the challenge, being restrained by the females behind the counter. One rather tall lady with glasses was the only hospital staff member to intervene and say to the coordinator, “Why don’t you just give her card and let them go?” The coordinator got the card and proceeded to throw it in my friends face again all the while grinning like a naughty little boy and not a person entrusted to do a very important job of keeping his department moving and functional at which he was failing miserably.
I understand the frustration of hospital staff with the recent budget cuts, but this sense of frustration can not and should not be transferred to the patient, who is already suffering. I heard the bells ringing and saw nurses running and orderlies trying to keep up and keep things clean and then I watched as a whole department got frustrated with all of the complaining and whining and decided in my opinion to get mean and show everyone waiting who was in charge. When the hospital staff, who are not in pain get so frustrated with their inability to provide the quality of service to patients they way they know that they should and this causes delays in the comfort and mediating of said patients I believe that it is the hospital staff who should expect complaints and never forget that these people are the one truly suffering not them. It is the hospital staff who must never stop being professional, courteous and above all caring and resort to their training and if it is not in their training then i think that it ought to be. I think that all concerned could have acted better, but again the coordinator step way out of line throwing the cards in the face of a patient. It was a sad day indeed for the Lasalle Hospital and an even sadder day for the emergency observation department and the staff on duty there during this incident. I truly hope that after receiving my complaint e-mail in which I describe the events in detail, that this department will be reprimanded for their unprofessional conduct and will have learned something about patient care. To the co workers who stood by and watched, laughed and egged this coordinator on shame on you and may you, or your loved ones never get the bad service and rough treatment that you gave that night to the patients in your care, if you or you loved ones find themselves in a waiting situation in an emergency hospital observation department.
As the Harper government goes ahead with its sweeping changes to the health care system, claiming the changes are making things better for its citizens, the citizens of Canada, I ask you does this sound better? The Lasalle Hospital is not the only hospital feeling the effects of balancing budgets, tightening purse strings and the all out war between the Harper government and the provinces and here are a couple of things to think about.
Royal Victory Hospital same day same time as this incident had a 13 – 14 hour wait before seeing a doctor for even pain assessment.
In the same month the Royal Victory Hospital Emergency Department has sent home two suicidal patients, who have committed suicide after being discharged.
The Montreal General Hospital has their emergency patients once again in the halls in stretcher.
The Jewish General is taking steps to force patients to go to the hospital in their area, instead of allowing the patient to come to the hospital of their chosing which is their right under the law.
Most hospitals are starting to refuse ambulances because of the back ups and unhealthy conditions these back ups cause in their emergency departments, causing the other hospitals who will not refuse ambulances to dangerously overload and give inferior care, like the Royal Victory Hospital of Montreal.
Health care is just one example of why the Harper vision for this country will not work for the majority of people in this country and why his vision is only good for the rich, who often just go somewhere else for emergency treatment and operations. With so many people unable to get a family doctor and the walk in clinics overwhelmed with patients and the waiting times just as long, is it any wonder that patients are taking medications to ease the pain at home rather than seek help to fix their medical problems? This is just one social service that has been all but stripped of any value in terms of effectiveness for the citizens of Canada, by Stephen Harper and a government who cares more about looking good financially to our neighbors than being good to its citizens.