A vibrant 38-year-old mother of four died needlessly in March of this year.
She would be alive today if the health-care system had not failed her.
Unfortunately, she lived in a small rural community.
The community’s hospital had been downgraded to such a level that its emergency room was no more than a doctor’s office with IV medications, a kitchen and housekeeping.
The woman developed surgical complications.
That is what eventually caused her death, but not until she spent three days untreated in the hospital — waiting to be transported.
Whose responsibility was she?
She was in a Saskatchewan border town, but the surgery was performed in Red Deer.
The hospital tried Red Deer first when complications developed but alas, there were no beds.
Then they tried Saskatoon, but no way.
She had surgery in Alberta, so she wasn’t Saskatoon’s problem.
Next day, her surgeon in Red Deer told the hospital officials in the border town to ship her to Red Deer, “and we’ll put her in emergency.”
But no dice. The ambulance service needed confirmation of a bed.
Later that afternoon, a bed became available.
So they shipped her out for a three-hour ambulance ride to Red Deer.
There was no doctor aboard the ambulance, even though by that time she was in need of such care.
So they had to stop at another small-town hospital to give her pain medication.
She was going septic and was apparently going to die without further surgery and a machine to clean her blood of toxins.
They finally decided to send her by STARS air ambulance, but there was no bed available in Edmonton.
The clock was ticking and her surgeon insisted she be transported to Red Deer.
She was transported by land, only to die 15 minutes from the hospital.
So who failed us? We were told by her surgeon he could have saved her life if she had gotten to the hospital sooner.
It is insane to believe that people in desperate need of care are being denied transportation to treatment because of a lack of beds.
There should be no restriction when it comes to someone who is dying!
Kick someone with a broken leg out in the hall!
Bureaucracy is strangling our health-care system.
It is scary to see how provincial governments put a price tag on lives.
If you live in Timbuktu, get ready for a hospital that hands out Band-Aids and Tylenol. Then cross your fingers and hope that the stars are aligned right and maybe, just maybe you’ll get transported to a real hospital.
I am sure if this had happened to someone Premier Ed Stelmach or Health Minister Ron Liepert loved, change would be fast tracked. But a nameless mother of four devastated children will not make a blip on the government’s radar.
Please call or e-mail your MLA and the premier and tell them that every person deserves acute primary care, no matter where they live, and access to timely transportation to large hospitals.
Please join me in giving a name to the nameless.
Help this death bring about change.