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Dr. Howard Vogel, Third From Left, Is Assisted...

Image by The U.S. National Archives via Flickr

I have been around a few different hospitals in the last year for some good and bad reasons. We had our baby this last March and the care my fiancée got at the Cowichan District Hospital was exceptional. I was fortunate to be in the room during the C-Section and witnessed medicine like I’ve never seen in person before. The after care was phenomenal as well. Too bad that our little boy had some complications and we got transferred to Victoria General Hospital.

When we got there, my fiancée was put into a room with another patient, in what seemed to be a room made for one person with a curtain in between. I understand that private rooms aren’t to be expected, but that wasn’t our biggest concern…

It was the poor staffing and lack of doctors in the maternity ward. I wandered around looking for an RN in charge of our room to get more pain medication. C-Sections are major surgeries, and my fiancée was made to feel like a drug addict everytime she asked for meds or if they weren’t helping the pain and asked for more. When we asked to see a doctor as to her care plan, we were told he would be by TOMORROW…What?

Our son was only down the hall in the NICU ward, and quite the opposite was happening there. He had 24 hour one on one care, doctors coming in at different times, tests being done all the time. The problem was with finding out what the hell was going on from the doctor…

Overall the experience was mixed. We were blown away by the caring of one department in the same hospital, and appalled at another one. Why the inconsistency?

Very recently we have had a close family member diagnosed with in-operable cancer.  He has been complaining of problems for a year! Every time he went to Cowichan District Hospital, the doctors didn’t order a standard procedure to rule out this cancer, even though his symptoms were textbook. So a year goes by, he goes to the same hospital multiple times during the year. Finally someone orders the standard test, and sure enough, he has cancer. But, do you think he or his wife can get answers? No. Finally, they fired the doctor on his case, and got a new one.

However, he got transferred to Royal Jubilee Hospital and has been there a while now. That means a different doctor or doctors in charge of his file. Outside the differences between recovery wards and hospice, I have been paying attention to the lack of communication. He and his wife keep asking questions, and sometimes it takes a day to get the answer. A day! And, some of these questions aren’t about getting more blankets, and water! Things like end of life care and feeding tubes falling out and not being replaced. The RNs seem to not want to say anything. They want you to talk to the doctor…The one that NEVER shows up until TOMORROW…

What are your experiences with getting important patient information?  How long are your wait times to get a doctor when you ask for one? Are we just super fortunate here in BC, so I should just shut the f*ck up?

All I know is that when there is lack of communication and a failure to do standard tests when given multiple opportunities, something is wrong with VIHA, and medical care in BC. I won’t even get into the shitty cafeteria hours…

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