Recently, my husband and I needed to visit the Emergency Room of Peace Arch Hospital. When we entered, we were greeted by a young woman who requested that we sanitize our hands and wear a mask. She then directed us to the desk where my husband’s details were taken.
As the waiting room was very crowded, I chose to wait in the small vestibule directly adjacent to the young woman who had greeted us. My husband was taken into the ER relatively quickly and I continued to wait in the vestibule.
Most people coming into the ER were patient, polite and very appreciative of the young woman’s help and direction. She was calm, efficient, polite and competent.
However there was one young person with a child who swore at the young woman and, when called out about the behaviour, was quick to apologize.
After I had waited about 45 minutes, two older persons entered the vestibule. It was clear that they were not patients but were there to visit a relative. The young woman informed them that they could go in one at a time but that it was too busy to allow two visitors for one patient.
They became very loud and argumentative, protesting that the day before they were permitted to go in together. The young woman apologized for the situation and indicated that these were the guidelines she had to follow. They continued to be belligerent and abusive.
Finally one went outside and one went in to visit. I could see that the young woman was becoming upset and I asked her if this happened often. She said “Every day. I just go to my car and have a cry on my break.”
When the person who went in to visit came back out, she looked at the young woman and said “I hope your whole family comes down with Covid and dies. Why don’t you go back where you came from?”
I was absolutely speechless, but managed to get up and tell the abusive person that they had no right to speak to anyone in that way. Not that it did any good. I have never been so embarrassed and ashamed of my fellow Canadians. The young woman who was on the receiving end of this vile abuse was doing her job politely, competently and with a smile on her face.
After the two left, the young woman went into the ER triage area and I could see that she was crying as she spoke to two other people. We are short-staffed enough in the medical field, but I would be surprised if this young woman remains in her job.
Peace Arch would lose a polite, hard-working, competent staff member.
After my husband came out, he told me that he was so impressed with the care he’d received and of the competence and professionalism of the staff.
Unfortunately, some of the general public have not yet learned how to treat people who are helping them with dignity and respect. No one should have to put up with this kind of abusive treatment in their workplace.
Senga Fullam, Surrey