I write this letter not as a complaint or criticism but as a plea and opportunity to learn.
Last June I started getting sick. Symptoms were those of asthma so that is how was I was treated. Over the months it got worse. I wanted to find out more but both the Port Hardy and Port McNeill doctors just kept refilling my inhalers. I decided to see the doctor in Alert Bay. Here, tests, blood work and chest x-ray, had been ordered. The test results were low vitamin B as well as an enlarged heart. The Alert Bay doctor thought it impractical to continue to see him as I lived in Port Hardy. I started seeing the doctor in Port Hardy again.
This is where my concerns start with my treatment, treatment not only for my sickness but also for human interaction. I had gone to the ER around 7:30 one night but it was closed (set to open at 8) and I returned home. Since being sick I had realized that my symptoms would go away shortly, so going back would be pointless because I usually felt better within a half hour. I decided to wait for another episode of symptoms before I returned. Around 11-11:30 my symptoms showed up. I went to the ER. The very first question the doctor asked me was “Why did you wait until this time of night to come in?”
When did it become an inconvenience for doctors to be on call? We don’t tell our bodies when to be sick and show symptoms.
He treated me as I still had asthma and I went in every four hours for a nebulizer. This happened for a few days. On one of the nights, the attending nurse actually left me alone to unhook myself and leave when I was finished. She never came back to check on me. Is this common practice? If I was not an honest man, I could have left with lots of supplies and whatever else was in that room I was being treated in.
My point is that there are a different set of rules or standards being lived by the staff at the hospital in Port Hardy. Is it race based? I don’t know, it may be for some and not all.
When I was properly diagnosed in Comox, I was in ICU for a week. The morning I was discharged, I said to the nurse, “Thank you for what you do. You make it a part of you and that it isn’t just a job to you. That makes it easier for us who are sick to get better”.
Any person who interacts with patients shouldn’t lose sight or feelings for what they do. Even if one patient is being difficult, that idea of “one bad apple wrecks a whole barrel” mentality needs to stop. The health profession is a service industry, nothing more and nothing less. Yes it does help the physical lives of people but it also needs to help the spiritual and human side of people. The basic level of courtesy and human interaction shouldn’t be lost the further the service is provided away from metro centers.
Many dislike going to the Port Hardy ER. To those in power at the various levels, you need to ask yourselves why and what is and isn’t working for the people at this hospital site. I am being inclusive when I say people; I mean patients and staff alike.
This letter is not meant to put anyone down but to provide a means to better provide service. I do this so that all staff (doctors, nurses and nursing aides) can learn and reconnect with why they chose to provide care to those sick rather than continue to live with just a job. To make it a part of their Being again.