Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hospital Horror Stories: Add Yours

We'll start off with my 75-year-old father-in-law, a sweet, gentle man who now suffers from Alzheimers. He spent three days in a cot in the crowded, filthy emergency ward of the Hull, Quebec hospital suffering from an untreated broken hip. My mother-in-law was the only support he had. For three days, she fed him, changed his adult diaper and kept him calm. The only staff that ever showed their faces were the pudgy, useless security guards that seem to infest Quebec and much of Ottawa. They took away my mother-in-law's chair, leaving her standing beside the cot for two days and two nights before my father-in-law was transferred to Montreal.
While he was in Hull, the emergency room was jammed with people. One poor crazy man was locked into a chair-table contraption wearing nothing but an adult diaper. Most of the time, he cried and asked people where he was and what was happening. My mother-in-law ended up comforting him, too.
In Montreal, my father-in-law was declared "terminal" by one doctor. another came by and realized he needed hip surgery but otherwise he was as fine as he could be, considering his circumstances. Eventually, he had surgery and now he's back at home, very much alive.

But this story beats mine. I'm not surprised. I visited my uncle at St. Joseph Hospital, where the wards were dirty, the staff was ignorant, and homeless people who lived in bus shelters outside wandered the cafeterias and the halls panhandling.
I do believe in a public health insurance system. I don't, however, believe in public hospitals. They simply don't work. The culture becomes one of entitlement and lack of empathy. There's a lack of focus on quality.
I can't imagine how good practitioners can work in our system. I just know that there are some who do.


Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm lucky. My father's final three week stay at the local hospital was pretty good, despite a seven hour wait to get a bed. It helps to have a health care professional in the family to help navigate and to go to a small local hospital where one is known.
On the other hand, another family member had to have an emergency surgery at a busy Toronto hospital two weeks ago and the care was excellent.
Too many people crowding the emergency for a lot of minor aches and pains, which could be dealt by a nurse practioneer, doesn't help matters either.
I hope your father-in-law's recovery goes well.

Ottawa Watch said...

I think nurse practitioners are definitely a step in the right direction, along with community walk-in clinics and midwives. People using big-hospital emergency rooms in lieu of a family doctor because they simply don't have one or (as in the case of my own doctor) need to book a month ahead (thereby effectively guaranteeing the doctor only sees people who are relatively well) are a big part of the health crisis.

roy said...

i visited the ottawa general hospital today and am mindblown at the condition of the patiant toilet/shower in one of the wards.mold and urine poo coverd tiles.I have lived in a few countries and this just takes the cake from anything ive seen eslewhere.i am going again tomorrow with a video camera and pics.this citys claims are sickening hippocritcal boastful lies.I am ashamed to be a citizen.oh canada.