‘I don’t want to die,’ says woman stuck in B.C. hospital ER with pneumonia & heart condition

Woman with pneumonia spent days next to ER doors, slept in friend’s car in parking lot

A woman with pneumonia and a serious heart ailment is begging for a standard in-patient bed after being stuck in Abbotsford Regional Hospital’s emergency room for a week.

“I don’t want to die,” said Tara. (The News isn’t using her last name for privacy reasons.)

Tara, 49, was brought to hospital several days ago by a friend who found her passed out in one of the homes he rents. She had been in ARH’s intensive care unit earlier in the year for treatment of serious heart issues. She was sent home, though, after doctors told her that she needed to be in better health before a heart operation was possible.

Brought to hospital last Monday, Tara spent three days in a bed directly in front of the emergency room doors to the outside. Every five minutes, she said the doors would open and deliver a cold blast of air.

“It’s horrible. It’s where all the ambulances come in; people screaming and bleeding on you,” she said.

RELATED: High death rate at Abbotsford Regional Hospital

RELATED: Last year, 64 more people died than expected at Abbotsford Regional Hospital

RELATED: FULL HOUSE: Patients feel the effects, with Abbotsford hospital at 118% capacity

After a friend posted on Facebook about her plight, Tara’s bed was moved, but only to another busy ER hallway.

“My cold and my pneumonia has gotten 100 per cent worse,” she said. “I need to get out of the hallway so I can get some proper rest.”

She says she feels sicker, but that her doctor has brushed off her concerns and not answered her questions.

When The News has previously reported on those stuck in hospital hallways for long periods, officials have frequently said that only medically stable patients are left in such condition.

But Steve Simpson, the friend who brought Tara to hospital, said he has been told Tara’s condition is dire, and he is hoping to secure a transfer for her to a hospital in Vancouver.

“She’s got all sorts of issues,” he said. “She’s a good person who really needs some medical help.”

Simpson believes Tara’s previous use of drugs several years ago has led health workers to treat his friend differently. Tara would occasionally leave the ER, and Simpson said nurses seemed to think those absences were drug-related.

But Tara said that’s not the case and that she left the ER just to get some peace and quiet:

“My friend would come and I would go sleep in his car for an hour or two in the parking lot, just so I can get some rest,” she said. “It’s really messed up. I don’t know what the hell is wrong with this place.”

Construction recently began on a new emergency department for ARH. Meanwhile, new figures show the hospital has an above-average mortality rate after dozens more patients died last year than would be expected by statistical models.

Long stays in Abbotsford’s ER room are not infrequent. One in 10 patients at ARH spend more than three days in its emergency department. Those figures are significantly higher than the Canadian, provincial and Fraser Health average. ARH and nearby Chilliwack General Hospital are the two-most crowded large hospitals in B.C., with both operating at more than 115 per cent capacity last year.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
tolsen@abbynews.com


@ty_olsen
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Port Hardy arena waiting for almost three million in grant funds needed for maintenance

The funds will be going towards upgrades to the arena and the lobby entrance.

Seniors housing in Port Hardy moves ahead with rezoning application

North Island seniors able to “age in place” in new facility, currently getting funding and permits

Port McNeill curling club will be getting a brand new paint job, thanks to residents

‘The generosity of this community never ceases to amaze me!’

Vancouver Island grizzlies: moving in, or just passing through?

Lack of data makes seeming increase in grizzly sightings on the North Island an open question

VIDEO: A young Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

Murder charge upgraded in George Floyd case, 3 other cops charged

Floyd’s family and protesters have repeatedly called for criminal charges against all four officers

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Bank of Canada keeps key interest rate target on hold at 0.25%

Central bank now expects GDP to decline between 10 and 20 per cent compared with the fourth quarter of 2019

Friendly Cove and Kyuquot will remain closed until further notice

Transition of other B.C. communities will be monitored before a decision to ease restrictions

Racist incident shocks Vancouver Island First Nation

Port Alberni RCMP investigating after video shows truck wheeling through Tseshaht territory

Gold River organizes a shop local initiative to creatively boost economy

Local purchases can earn shoppers $200 gift certificates to be spent on businesses within Gold River

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo shore

DFO marine mammal rescue unit was en route as whale broke free from prawn trap line

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

Most Read