My girlfriend was thrown from her horse in Saint-Lazare, on Thursday, August 12th, at approximately 6:30pm. First Responders took her by ambulance to Valleyfield Hospital.

Jennifer is in the process of becoming a Canadian resident, and does not yet have her Quebec RAMQ card yet, and does not have any health insurance. The triage nurse told us that we must give a $1000.00 deposit on a credit card, since she did not have coverage. We explained to them that we did not have a credit card with this amount available on it, but that I am a permanent resident here, and Jennifer was in the process of getting her permanent residence, and has a bank account here with BMO, and even gave them her statement for proof of residence.

Well, this was simply not good enough for the nurse, and it seemed she was going to turn us away, and refuse to treat a person with a broken arm that arrived by ambulance.

Right from the get go, the triage nurse was rude and vulgar while filling in Jennifer’s forms, she was (assuming we did not speak/understand french) speaking to her colleague, saying “câlisse les anglais” and “câlisse les americans”, and complaining how Americans think it’s OK to come to Canada and milk our health care system …

A friend of Jennifer’s –who speaks fluent french — started to get standoff-ish with the nurse, and eventually it was determined that yes they would treat Jennifer.

For the record, I would like to state that Jennifer has NEVER been seen by a doctor or a hospital in Quebec, prior to this ACCIDENT!!

She does not have a chronic illness that requires constant care, and certainly did not plan to fall off her horse and break her humerus!

When Jennifer was seen by a doctor, she had X-rays taken, and it was discovered she had broken her humerus in her left arm.

The doctor wrapped the arm in some kind of splint, with ace bandages, and left the arm hanging by her side, with no support whatsoever.

We were told that it was MANDATORY that she call the orthopedic surgeon the next morning (Friday) at 9am to get an appointment for FRIDAY to have the arm looked at, and set in a permanent cast. The doctor told us that we were not to take “no” for an answer, that it must be set and put in a cast on Friday, and if the Orthopedic Surgeon’s office gave us any difficulties, to call back to the emergency, and have them speak to the surgeon.

Friday morning, we called at 9:11am to make an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon, and were informed there was no surgeon on call, and that the emergency had misinformed us, so we needed to go back to emergency, and have them put the permanent cast.

SO we now go back to the emergency, and tell them what we were told by the orthopedic surgeon’s office. Another triage nurse — who would have me believe she did not understand english very well, however her replies to me (in english) were very well pronounced — told me that this was impossible, that there was an orthopedic surgeon on staff all day, and that emergency was not responsible for placing her arm in a cast, and we would have to go home and call Monday, and HOPEFULLY get an appointment for this coming week – or next week – to see the surgeon. Meanwhile lets remember that Jennifer’s arm is wrapped, but dangling by her side this whole time …

So … as instructed by the doctor the previous evening … we called the 1-800 number that was on the paper he gave us, in case we did not get anywhere with the surgeon, as we were to demand she have her arm properly immobilized in a permanent cast on Friday. The number ened up just being an answering service, and they transferred me back to the emergency that we had just left because they would not cooperate with us.

No progress of any sort was being made, so we left the hospital, and returned to our home in Saint-Lazare.

Throughout the night, Jennifer’s arm became very uncomfortable, and her hand was visibly swollen, and lacking in circulation.

In the morning, I decided that I had enough of being given the run-around by Valleyfield Hospital, and arranged for a friend to drive us to Hawkesbury District Hospital in Ontario … It’s 4 times the distance — a big issue when we do not have a vehicle, and must depend on others for rides … but the treatment was SO MUCH BETTER there!!!

We saw the triage nurse right away, explained our situation, and they simply gave us a paper with the phone number for the hospital’s accounting office, so we can call Monday and make arrangements to pay in installments.

The doctor was truly appalled at the condition of Jennifer’s arm … and that is was hanging freely at her side, and not put in a sling at a 90 degree angle to help set/support the bone. He removed the dressing, and it had pinched her arm with almost every wrap of the bandage.

They sent her for X-Rays (two sets, as they thought they saw a secondary fracture on her elbow in the first x-rays, but it came up clean on the second one), set the arm in a plaster temporary cast (at a proper 90 degree angle), and put her arm in a sling!

The doctor was very polite and just generally very nice. He took the time to show us both the x-rays, and explain the break and the treatment to us … something valleyfield did not do! He even made Jennifer a CD of the X-rays, so that she can email the image to her parents in Pennsylvania.

Within minutes of removing the old bandages, Jennifer’s arm started to look much better, and the doctor even commented on how her hand was “cold to the touch”

Our entire visit to Hawesbury Hospital was under 3 hours, and I feel they went out of their way to do a 300% better job than Valleyfield did.

I’m sorry, but I will never go to Valleyfield Hospital again for treatment of any sort. It is very much worth the hassle to go 4 times the distance to Hawkesbury, Ontario.

Paul Bradshaw