Welcome Back Brucesters!
Let me reintroduce myself to you. I’m simply Bruce. The creator of this blog which has been online for over ten years. I’ve covered a variety of topics including: celebrity interviews, restaurant reviews, current events and, of course, the monthly beard contest. I’ve got some great surprises in store, and one project in particular that I think will rock your world! I’ll leave that to your imagination for the moment. It’s been some time since I have written my blog and it feels like the world has gone to hell in a handbasket.
Before I get started, I’d like to first say that I have the utmost respect for the first responders who have been working tirelessly through this pandemic, but I can’t help but wonder what is going on in our emergency rooms across the province of Ontario. Even before the pandemic everyday people have been speaking out about their experiences at their local hospitals. Amuse me for a moment as I share one such story. A friend of mine recently shared his experience with me and I’d like to share it with you.
It was June 15th, 2022 at 10:30pm, and my friend was in need of medical attention so he got a Y Ride and got himself over to his local emergency department. When he arrived, he noticed it wasn’t overly busy but there were a few ahead of him. They took his blood and checked all the vitals and concluded he was in no threat of immediate danger, and so he took a seat in the waiting room. Now we all expect to wait when it comes to waiting rooms but what he experienced in my opinion….was intolerable.
He was concerned by the general attitude of the nurses. They were rude. They were hanging out as though around the work water fountain. Laughing it up and blathering away, not just about any old subject but about clients that were either already inside or waiting in the waiting room. They seem to pay no mind that people in distress, at whatever level, were in ear shot of their conversations. The air about them was that of privilege, my friend recalled to me. Like the people waiting for help were unimportant slabs of meat. Don’t bother us – we are busy leaning. My friend heard them making fun of patients. My friend heard a lot. He heard a lot because he was there for many hours. Many hours, and saw few actually get access into the hospital for care after their initial check in.
After a few inquiries about how long he would be possibly waiting he was told the day crew gets there at 8am. He sat back down and observed. I recall him telling me about and elderly woman who was cold and requested a blanket at least four times from the nurses on duty but no blanket ever came. He overheard a nurse talking with a co-worker listing off things that were needed to get done. One he hoped was the blanket for the cold elderly woman. The nurse just shrugged off her list and said she’d do it later. The other nurse laughed and they continued to chat away about their own personal affairs while patients waited in their own personal agonies. My friend waited long enough and went to get the woman a blanket, at the disapproval of the on-duty nurses. He said they were very rude to him from the onset. From the moment he opened his mouth. Did they just have a long stressful day? Were they hungry? Did my friend in his distress offend them in some way? Unanswered questions.
He continued to wait, and watch, and listen. Not that he had a choice; the nurses were chatting it up quite loudly. He heard them mocking patients. At one point a gentleman was unable to walk into the emergency room and no one paid him any mind. My friend looked for a wheelchair but there were none to be found so the fellow made his way to the check-in with great discomfort.
My friend just shook his head and wonder what was going on. Is this our healthcare at its finest? This is Canada for Gods sakes. Surely, we can do better than this. My friend is not from Canada. In fact, he is from a third-world country and has never been treated so haphazardly, or seen others in the waiting room treated the same way as well.
After waiting for roughly three hours my friend was informed that he would not be seeing anyone until the day crew showed up at 8am. It was three am. Not a busy waiting room. No patients coming out. A select few going in. Apparently, there were no beds because they were filled with the homeless who were on drugs. Not his words but theirs. His wait would be another four plus hours. He decided he would be better off at home then to sit there and compound his distress with an incompetent staff.
When he arrived home, he got in touch with me. I wanted to know for myself what was going on so I called the hospital. I had a few questions for them. When I was transferred to the emergency, keeping in mind how sensitive time is there, I quickly asked a few questions. If I came in right now for help how long would my wait be. The person on the phone quickly said eight hours. I asked why so log. The answer I got was because the day crew comes in at eight am. I asked what about the night staff. Isn’t there anyone there to help the people that come in at night? She became slightly annoyed and I would even say nervous and asked why am I asking these questions. I asked how many Doctors were on shift. She asked why. I said because I want to know who’s actually there helping those in need. She replied one Doctor. One Doctor for all of Peterborough and surrounding area? She simply said yes. I thanked her for her time and let her get back visiting her few co-workers who were “manning the fort”.
I had to wonder what exactly these nurses do if they know there is only one Doctor in the house. The logical math doesn’t even add up. Next to no one was getting help that night with such a draught on Doctors. Where are the Doctors? Why don’t they just be honest and tell the truth to people when they come in for help? Then one could make a rational decision to go die in the bushes. It’s no wonder their laughing when patients complain. It’s not their problem. There are no Doctors. Have the hospitals blown the budget? Do we have a lack of health care workers to schedule into shifts. What is going on?
A lot of these questions you may have asked yourself when you find your waiting for hours in the hospital. I’m certainly not here to dump on the hard-working people in them but this isn’t just an “I’m waiting too long” story. This is truly unacceptable. Would my mother have gotten treated this way? Would your husband be left for dead with only one Doctor on duty and ignorant, incompetent staff chilling at the water fountain. I’ve lived in Ontario, Canada for 51 years. I’ve never seen disarray like I have personally experienced in our hospitals. Who takes the blame here? I reached out to several offices within the hospital looking for some answers but no one returned my call.
I don’t have the answers but I’m doing my best to understand what is going on. I’m well aware of the crisis in our health care system but does that excuse poor accountability from staff? The truth is my friend and the patients from the night of June 15th from 10:30pm to 3:00am were treated with little care and a lack of dignity. Has the system become so broken that indifference is an acceptable behavior to manifest?
Author: Bruce Christopher
Editor: Marty Rye
Peterborough Regional Health Centre