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Care at James Paton Memorial Regional Heath Centre


Dear editor, My name is Juanita Andrews, and my husband is Calvin Andrews.

On June 9, Calvin began experiencing right flank discomfort and suspected it may be a kidney stone like he had in the past.

After a visit to our family doctor, an urgent ultrasound was ordered. The pain and discomfort became more intense and evolved to a trip to the emergency department. The wait was long and exhausting; this visit was one of four that we endured in four days.

On our first visit, Calvin was told he may have a strained muscle. We were sent home, the pain worsened and we returned.

On the second visit, we were told he had sciatica. Again sent home with medication. The pain worsened, and Calvin was nearly unable to walk.

On the third visit I had to call an ambulance for my husband because he was now unable to sit. He spent the third day receiving morphine for intense pain. Up to this point my husband was a very healthy man, still working, and very active around the house. He is not a man that complains, and now I was calling an ambulance because I didn’t know what else to do.

Calvin spent the third day again receiving morphine. We were informed by the doctor, an old lumbar fracture was seen on the x-ray completed on a previous visit. Calvin had had a fall last September at work, x-rays at that time did not show a fracture; he fully recovered from minor injuries in two weeks and had returned to work. Now my husband could not even sit up to eat due to the pain. I requested a CT scan, and was informed an urgent CT was not justified because this was an old fracture. We returned home with more medication.

The fourth trip to the ER was on Saturday. I called the ambulance again, medication was not working, and he was in torture. Frustrated, I informed the doctor we were not leaving until a CT was completed. The doctor informed us he had spoken to the radiologist and an urgent CT was not warranted and would possibly be slotted in Monday.

After all day receiving morphine, we were told there were no beds for admission, but were given the option of staying in the ER or return on Monday for a possible CT. Calvin’s anxiety level was very high and felt it necessary to stay in hospital where he would have better pain control, monitoring, and hopefully a CT.

Monday finally arrived and with it came the frustrations and stress of the past week. I left a letter of complaint at the office of the CEO. After a very short time, Calvin was taken for CT and in less then five minutes the procedure was complete. Later, the ER doctor informed us the CT revealed several bulging lumbar discs, some with nerve impingement.

To think that this diagnosis could have been done in five minutes is unbelievable! We would have had a diagnosis, been able to properly treat his pain, and establish a care plan, and possibly could have returned home, perhaps avoiding unnecessary costs to the health care system. The pain, fear, and frustration could have been minimized.

I was surprised and disappointed with the attitude of some staff members, and the delayed diagnostic treatment Calvin received. I was hoping the diagnostic department had learned something from its past history.

The urgent ultrasound ordered by Calvin’s family doctor on June 3 was finally completed on July 3. I was informed at that time that a regular ultrasound was taking 17-18 months to get an appointment!

There is something definitely wrong with this picture!

I shudder to think of our population, especially our elderly, who may be unable to contend themselves and whom may have no one to do so for them. What happens to them?

I am making a plea to all who are experiencing these issues with our health care system to make the public aware and to let the government know we are not going to tolerate this unfair treatment! We deserve to be treated equally, with respect and dignity!

Juanita Andrews

Gander

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