ER experience a gamble


Over the past month, I have had the opportunity to experience the workings of three of the Lower Mainland’s emergency departments


Over the past month or so, I have had the opportunity to experience the workings and efficiencies of three of the Lower Mainland’s emergency departmentsSurrey Memorial, Delta and Peace Arch in White Rock.

Since these visits, I have talked to several people who have all had visits to one of these hospitals, their experiences run from wonderful to a nightmare. All the emergency departments had instances of both.

The staff at all these hospitals, without exception, were professional, kind, hardworking and dedicated.

However, for my wife and I, both in our mid-70s, the experience was tiring, frustrating and dehumanizing.

Having a wife in pain with what turned out to be a broken collarbone, having to sit in a major emergency ward for seven hours waiting to get an X-ray – then being told it might be more than an hour for results – is just not acceptable. Even more so when an a frail elderly woman next to you advises she has been waiting two hours for results, and had been there over nine hours!

It amazed us when the senior nurse on duty at one department, in a very stern tone, scolded us for leaving after only one hour and 45 minutes. She indicated to us that was a very reasonable time to wait.

What she didn’t seem to take into consideration was one of us was in real pain. We had been told the wait would be at the very least another two hours. We went home to bed.

The next morning, we went to another ER and described the pain. Within minutes I was in a bed, had heart monitors plugged in all over my body and had an X-ray and a CT scan – all within two hours.

Having had such wildly varying experiences, it makes one wonder why one department gives excellent care while another appears to be slightly less than perfect.

More to the point – is there an answer to this serious health problem? When any of these ERs are busy, it appears there are never enough doctors or nurses on duty.

There are never enough beds.

At some of these hospitals the comfort of the chairs – for those who often must wait many hours, in real discomfort – is substandard, to say the least. A little comfort when sick or injured is important.

The pay parking at the hospitals, in my opinion, is a disgrace. And the enthusiasm of the ticket givers is poetry in action. At Peace Arch, I received a $80 ticket because I had, by mistake, put an out-of date-handicap sign on my window.

Having vultures prey upon people worried about loved ones is disgusting, unacceptable and must be removed from B.C. hospitals.

It appears the obvious solution to the situation is money. Be it a small user-pay amount or whatever, it boils down to money.

I understand we have the MRIs, CT scans, ultrasound machines, etc.; we just do not fund the personnel to run them full-time, thus the ridiculous wait times.

Larry W. Bennett, Delta



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