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Letter: Common sense lacking says KGH patient

Common sense should never be supplanted or professional initiative punished at Kelowna hospital

To the editor:

I recently stayed overnight (at KGH) for hernia repair surgery. I cannot complement staff enough for their professionalism and sincere concern for my well-being during my stay. I admire everyone’s dedication, professionalism, passion and compassion: Housekeeping staff, support staff, technicians, nurses and doctors. kudos to everyone; a most sincere and respected thank you.

I cannot say the same for the Interior Health (IH) administrative bureaucratic “wardens” peppered throughout the facility. There is a place for policy and procedures; however common sense should never be supplanted or professional initiative punished.

I had a medical procedure to attend the day after my surgery in ambulatory care. While in post-operative recovery, I asked the attending nurse if I could have my procedure done while in recovery rather than go home and have to come back later the same day; particularly because I just had hernia repair surgery. For the past three-plus years, the procedure in question is done every three weeks in the pain clinic housed in ambulatory care. I am not a stranger.

The nurse took initiative to see if it was possible. The cross-departmental cooperation was amazing. The professional cooperation was humbling. Within less than an hour and with all the requisite permissions obtained from the attending physicians, the infuser and medication arrived at my bedside.

Within moments of their arrival, the IH administrative bureaucratic “warden” swooped in and confiscated all. The individual was adamant that they could not proceed as there wasn’t a policy and procedure in place to allow such. The “warden” did not treat the nurse appropriately in front of me and pooh-pooped the whole initiative. The atmosphere in the post-operative care changed instantly; one could cut the tension in the air with a knife.

Telling me it was for my own health and safety was a crock. The physicians responsible for my treatment and care signed off on having the infuser attached. Everyone but the “warden” saw the opportunity to help as it was a no-brainer.

Please IH powers-that-be, there needs to be a policy and procedure in place to handle such occasions. They can’t be rare in a complex hospital environment. I am shocked, truly shocked, that an organization like IH doesn’t have such an administrative policy already in place.

In a single moment, the professionalism and cross-departmental cooperation was cheapened and professional individuals were made to feel un-trusted and disrespected. Everything was undone in an instant. I am so very sorry I created that unease. I had no idea common sense, efficiency and cross-departmental cooperation was such a boogey man at KGH.

Kudos to everyone concerned with my care and recovery. I admire and respect each one of you. Thank you for doing what you trained to do, and doing it professionally and passionately. Even the “warden” as the individual was just doing their job. IH, common sense has its place sometimes and needs a policy and procedure. It’s just common sense.

Patrick W. Olenick, West Kelowna