PLEASE NOTE: IF YOU CAN JOIN IN MY FIGHT TO CHANGE THIS HOSPITAL’S STANDARDS PLEASE CALL Patient relations at the St. Joseph’s Health Care Centre. So Far I am in contact with Gerrard Kennedy- Local Liberal MPP, The Toronto Hospitals Association, Toronto Public Health and Patient Relations of the St. Joseph’s Health Centre.
This is my Complaint:
As usual I am appalled by my experience at St. Joseph’s Hospital. I will clear this one detail first. After a blood test and waiting 4 hours, I am told I have a Viral infection that will most likely clear up by Wednesday, and given the usual leave cue ” If anything should worsen come back and see us”. So fine, I am feverish and in a great deal of back and chest pain, but I will be ok on Wednesday. Well, that is a relief.
BUT, I think I am more sick by what I witnessed tonight. I intend to bring my experience as high as is necessary until I receive word that the situation will be addressed appropriately.
This how my night went:
After going through triage, I sat in the ambulatory clinic, of which 3 chairs were free. I noticed names were called very seldom. Therefore I knew I was in for a long wait. I pulled out my iPhone and started reading “New Moon”.
Everyone noticed the woman at the back, very pale and tired looking. She seemed to be falling asleep in her chair. A woman accompanying her asked a nurse more than once “Please, can you see my Mama now?”, The nurse very nonchalantly said “We are very busy. We will get to her when we can”. This is the response I hear all the time, I don’t know why people bother to ask anymore. When you step into a hospital today, you cease to become a person, and you are now a flawed product on an assembly line. You are given no emotion, no compassion, and you become a problem for everyone. “I don’t won’t to deal with this. I know I have to, so I will… But I really don’t want to.” This is what I imagine is traveling through their minds.
Here is where the story becomes traumatic. The woman seemingly falling asleep in her chair got up to use the washroom. She started to faint and another patient caught her. At the same time blood started spilling out of the midsection of her pants. She went unconscious and no health official noticed. People were yelling in the hallways to get their attention. When two nurses did come they started to drag her away one holding her under the arms and one carrying her feet. This was so disturbing, this woman was still bleeding a great deal, and they don’t even bring a wheelchair, bed or call a code. They carried her off leaving a large trail of blood to another section of the ER. Then a nurse came with hospital house coats and tossed them on the floor to cover the blood. No she doesn’t clean it, that’s not her job as she stated to a very frustrated patient. About 5 min later a nice gentleman came and mopped up the bloody floor.
Scene 2. An older man came in about 1:30 am and was desperately asking to see a doctor claiming to be very sick. I thought to myself, you already know the answer, so why ask? I realized after saying this to myself, being put in a situation where you are treated with no compassion or emotion, leaves you open to behaving the same way. In my head I quickly corrected myself hoping that maybe someone would say “Yes Sir, come with me”. He sat down and less than five minutes later started vomiting over and over, not only on the floor but all over the people closest to him. For you know, God forbid you should have more leg room than on an airplane. This incident again provided no response from hospital staff. I got very frustrated now and went to the nurse who had called me in for an initial assessment and told her what had just happened. She refused to leave the nursing station. She kept looking down the hall asking “Which guy? Who?”. Only after everyone else, and I do mean every other patient, had left that area did she realize who I was speaking of and went to see him. Again no-one immediately cleaned the mess. Instead they moved us all, at least 20 of us to the “fast track” area, which had no more than 10 seats and already mostly used.
It was another hour before the Doctor called my name. He advised me that my blood-work did not show any bacterial infection and the feverishness and other symptoms “therefore must be viral”. He offered me a choice to stay for a chest X-ray to rule out any problems due to my chest pain. He offered me several reasons why I should not do this as well. How kind of him, giving me all my options. After all, if I did want the chest X-ray it would mean, “You’d have to wait another couple hours”, “There’s probably not much reason to take the test, but since you’ve had a Pulmonary Embolism recently we should probably do it”. Ok was he really giving me an option or was he actually telling me “Oh please, just go home so I can get to the next piece on my assembly line”.
I chose to leave the hospital on that note, not staying for the chest X-ray. For it seemed if something were really wrong with me, I would have had a reaction in the waiting room and it would be dealt with then. Unfortunately that is my whole opinion on St. Joseph’s hospital. I will go only if I am in extreme pain, or if I feel really ill. I do not expect any treatment, and while I am waiting, I always ponder “Well, at least if it is something serious, I’ll be close by… in the waiting room.” During my cab ride home, I could not get the images out of my head of the bleeding woman and the vomiting man. I casually asked the driver how much the fare was to the next closest hospital. Apparently it is the Toronto Western, and it’s $15-$20. That is only $10 more than what I spend now, which could someday mean a great deal if I am as unfortunate as the two fore-mentioned patients.
This experience has given me the knowledge to know that “I need to take my health seriously, and get the appropriate help when I need it. Taking a chance by going to a Hospital that doesn’t “treat” their patients, only puts me at risk.”
Written by Kevin Reid after going to St. Joseph’s Hospital on Saturday August 1st at 11:30 pm. – Kevin Reid