Hospital experience disheartening
To the Editor:
I am writing this letter as a concerned individual with regards to a recent incident at the St. Therese Hospital. A family member has recently been undergoing treatments for a serious illness in Edmonton and had been given strict instructions by those doctors to be treated immediately at any hospital should they require care.
It happened that they needed to seek medical attention at our local hospital and upon entering, they gave the front desk staff their doctor's instructions about the necessity of immediate care. Understandably emergencies take precedence, however the waiting room was packed full of ill people and the reason for the doctor's instructions was due to their lack of immunity. If they contract an illness, this may compromise their ability for treatment and can be very harmful or even fatal. They were directed to sit in the waiting room and did so for the next hour and a half, being exposed to all kinds of illnesses.
Finally, after another family member urged the staff that they should not be exposed to sick people, they were moved to a separate room and then seen by a nurse. This nurse entered the room while eating her lunch and very matter of fact, asked why they “needed to be seen so urgently.” They explained why they needed not to be put in a waiting room with sick people and explained their symptoms to the nurse whereupon the insulting, snide remarks continued. This particular nurse was also shown the doctor's orders relating to treatment and dismissed them and said that “they can't bump them ahead of anyone and that they were to return to the waiting room and wait like everyone else.” At this point they had enough humiliation and disrespect and decided to seek treatment elsewhere. Upon arriving at Bonnyville, they were seen immediately, treated and sent home.
The general public seek medical attention because they are ill; the last thing they need is to feel as though they are wasting someone's time. Furthermore, if the admitting staff do not ask why a person is there, how do you know the severity of someone's symptoms or order to treat a patient? You can have someone with a common cold and have them seen before someone seriously ill. At the very least, this situation could have been dealt with differently by simply isolating them to a room where they aren't compromising their health by being exposed to various illnesses. I often wonder if this was a family member of that nurse if they would receive the same treatment or if that family member would be seen immediately no matter the cause. Furthermore, if specific instructions from a highly recognized facility by someone of more authority isn't enough to indicate how this situation should have been handled, then I don't know what would. It is unbelievable to hear that this staff had put someone's life at risk and exposed them to the utmost humiliation when you expect the reason someone becomes a nurse is because they generally care about the well-being of others.
I can't imagine trusting this facility with my family's life any time in the future when they so obviously failed this time. We all as human beings deserve respect. It is my hope that this particular nurse and other staff at the St. Therese Hospital read this and think about how patients should be treated, especially those fighting for their lives and that depend on the medical professionals.
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