An Alberta man says the recent treatment of his wife at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre was “inexcusable.”
Chris Ritchie, of Provost, says his wife had been feeling ill since about Jan. 5. This past Tuesday she went to the hospital in Provost, where she was told she had an abdominal infection and needed to be treated at a bigger facility.
Due to freezing rain issues, she was flown to Red Deer late Tuesday night.
“This is where the problems started,” Ritchie said, noting that after landing at the Red Deer Airport, she was transported to the hospital by ambulance.
“She waited three-and-a-half hours in the back of an ambulance before she could get unloaded. It’s totally inexcusable.”
Ritchie said his wife was supposed to be on antibiotics, via IV, but got very little until she was moved up to a ward on the third floor.
“My wife says the nurses on the third-floor ward have been great, but as for getting answers, not a chance. Nobody knows anything.”
Ritchie said he called the hospital multiple times to get information about his wife’s condition.
“Nobody knew anything up until (Friday) morning at 9:30. That’s when we finally started getting some answers,” he said.
On Thursday night “I even told the head RN that in 24 hours, if I don’t have any information or if things don’t start to click, I’m taking her to some place that will give her the proper care.”
Ritchie said his wife had a five-inch cyst and was in infectious shock.
“That can kill a person,” he said.
“Her electrolytes were off-the-charts low, her white blood cell count was through the roof, signifying she had an infection, her potassium level was off-the-charts to the low side. Finally those levels have come back to normal.”
Alberta Health Services said its first priority is always to provide safe, timely, effective care to patients and understands the concerns experienced when a loved one is admitted to hospital or other healthcare facility.
“We know waiting can be frustrating, and we are continually working to help reduce wait times, and improve access to hospital services, ensuring the right spaces are available for those who need it. We have always worked very closely with our EMS partners to transfer our patients promptly and continue to do so throughout our COVID-19 response. Our teams meet regularly to review this work and improve processes,” said AHS in a statement.
AHS said emergency departments and hospitals across Alberta are experiencing higher demand as they respond to COVID-19 as well as seasonal illness and injuries.
The volume of COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalizations has an impact on the amount of isolation space available, which can affect the time it takes for safe flow of patients into the ED.
“We appreciate feedback from our patients to allow us to improve the care we provide, and encourage patients and families to contact our patient relations department with concerns.”