More MS news articles for September 2002

Call 911, hospital says

Man waited in pain because doctors and nurses refused to help him

September 2, 2002 Monday
Salim Jiwa and Darrell Bellaart
The Vancouver Province

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital is promising to investigate why an injured man at the emergency room entrance was told to phone 911 for help.

Dee Boyd drove her husband Peter to hospital after he fell and dislocated his shoulder inside a bank last week. Bank customers got him into the car and once at the hospital, she ran inside for help. She said she spoke to a receptionist and then a nurse, saying her injured husband was in the car and needed help to get into the emergency room.

"They told me to use the pay phone and dial 911 for an ambulance," said Boyd.

"I said I did not have change. They said you don't need any, pick up the phone and dial 911. And they knew he was sitting outside in the car, right at the door.

"They were very careless -- they don't seem to care. And I am just so annoyed right at the moment."

The Nanaimo woman is demanding the hospital explain why an injured man did not get help from doctors or nurses while he waited half an hour for ambulance attendants to move him the 10 metres from the car to the emergency room.

Boyd, 58, said she could not help lift her husband, also 58, into a wheelchair because she is only four feet 11 inches and suffers from fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis. Her husband, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, is six feet tall and nearly 220 pounds.

At no time did a nurse or a doctor come outside to check her husband's condition or to offer pain-killing medicine.

Said Peter: "There was no way I could get out.

"I was getting absolutely furious sitting there waiting, the car was hot -- it was 30 degrees, hotter than hell and I could see the wheelchairs leaning against the hospital. You know they were 30 feet away and I was hurting.

"So these two [paramedics], a guy and a girl, showed up after about half an hour and they were sort of wondering why the hell they were called. I said just get one of those wheelchairs and push me into it and get me into the hospital."

Once inside, he was given morphine to kill the pain.

Vancouver Island Health Authority officials initially said they were unable to confirm the incident, but ambulance officials said they have a record of a call to the emergency room at the time the Boyds say they were refused help last Monday.

"It was a call to assist a person into Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, and that's exactly what we did," said Bob Pearce of the ambulance service.

The health authority's Lianne Peterson promised to investigate.

"I am absolutely certain that [an investigation] will happen, I am absolutely certain of that," she said.

"Without knowledge of full facts it is impossible for me to comment on what was appropriate or inappropriate.

Said Nanaimo city councillor Terry James Beech: "Things like this shouldn't happen. There should have been something that could have been done. You've got people going in and out of hospital all the time, it doesn't take too much to get a stretcher out to the car."

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