Letters to the Editor

One bad experience is one too many at hospital

To the editor:

My wife has had many severe health issues over the past three years including overcoming cancer.

She has ended up in Kelowna General Hospital more times than I would have liked. She has received excellent care, with compassion, 99 per cent of the time. The doctors and nursing staff have been great as a rule, until this past week.

My wife was admitted again with an infection and a fever. Because of her immune system being so low due to her previous many chemo treatments, our doctor told me to get her to Emergency. She was treated well in Emergency from Sunday to Tuesday midnight when she was moved to a semi-private room on 4A.

I went to see her Wednesday morning and was happy that she was out of Emergency even though she was treated well there—Emergency was and is always busy and noisy. Then on Wednesday evening everything changed.

Our daughter and son are adults (over 40 years of age) and we were not able to visit before 8 p.m. when visiting hours are usually over. We followed the rules by stopping at the security desk, registering and showing ID and security phoning the nursing station asking if we could come up and were told that we could.

Upon arriving on 4A we went to my wife’s bed and were told that we should not be there in no uncertain terms, in a very rude manner and harsh voice by a nurse.

After visiting for a few minutes, she came in and started to take vitals of my wife. My wife has been bedridden for months and her body is sore, but the nurse did not pay attention to her moans and groans and just continued very roughly.

Then she wanted to ask my wife a number of questions to which my wife did not know the answers as she has severe dementia. She continued and my wife became agitated and told her to leave her alone.

We tried to calm her down and Nurse Ratchet just continued. Finally she said she would write that my wife was not co-operating and asked to talk to me in the hall.

Here in the hall she said to me: “We note that she is not to be revived, so why are we doing all these tests?”

My reply was: “Because she is a human being.” She kept repeating herself: “Why are we doing this as we are just agitating her?”

My reply: “Because it is your job and in the past three years you are the only one that has agitated her like this.”

That is when the nurse suggested that we leave.

That is when I lost it and asked, “Are you kicking us out?” “Yes,” she replied. And I lit into her. She said that she was going to get the charge nurse.

Because of this attitude I told the charge nurse that I did not want to have this nurse looking after my wife.  We spent a little time discussing what happened and she apologized for the nurse’s attitude and told us to stay as long as we needed.

The three of us are adults, followed the rules of the hospital, were not noisy and were there to comfort a loved one who was sick and in pain. Here we run into someone on a power trip with an attitude which throws a bad light on the nursing profession. If she does not like the work and has that kind of attitude, may I suggest another vocation.

Again, we have had mostly positive experiences with KGH staff, especially when you consider how busy they always are.

To the rest of the KGH staff, please have a Happy New Year and all the best from here on in.

Ozzie and Betty Ziesmann, children and grandchildren,

Kelowna

 

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