Personal Best: Fixing B.C. health care

Seniors columnist Pat Black takes a look at the some of the issues facing the province's health care

What is going on with our health care system?  Last week we read about the young mother that had delivered her baby in a hotel room because there was no space at Vernon Jubilee Hospital. Later an official of the hospital said that she agreed with the decision to send the expectant mother away because the nurse who saw her thought she wasn’t close to delivering her baby. Later, a relative of the mother said they were told there wasn’t any room when they went back to the hospital as the labor pains worsened. This is a new young mother, a high risk pregnancy, who had been induced at the hospital earlier that day with the purpose of speeding up the birth process and yet was told to go away. I am sure the continual overcrowded conditions that exist at our hospital are contributing to many errors being made. But it isn’t just in Vernon. Our health care system is in dire straits across the province.

A very good friend of mine has been waiting for a triple bypass. He was first diagnosed by his doctor in February of this year with a compromised heart condition. Then waited until May for an appointment with a specialist in Kelowna where an angiogram took place and he received the news that there was a 90 per cent blockage in four arteries and that he could have a heart attack at any time because of this condition.  He was referred to a heart surgeon at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver and in June saw this doctor who agreed with the diagnosis and said the surgery would be done within a month. That would be by the end of July. This is the end of November, he is still waiting and still no surgery scheduled. He has called the surgeon’s office at least six times since the promised date. Some of the reasons given for the delay are: surgeon on vacation, operating rooms shut down for vacations, heart/lung technicians unavailable and other excuses. The bottom line is no date is yet scheduled for this life-saving operation, first brought to light in February, some nine months ago, and my friend waits to have a heart attack.

I ask again what is wrong with our health care system and how do we fix it? Our B.C. Minister of Health keeps reassuring us that we have the finest health care in Canada and, if this is true, I pity the rest of the country. They must be dying in droves.

In a previous column I mentioned joining the Good Food Box program and checking out this service. I am very pleased to say there was a great variety in the box I received and the amount of vegetables and fruits was overwhelming. I figured that I saved about $30, and I will certainly have enough potatoes, onions squash and apples for the end of the month. This is one good deal for $15 a month and $3 extra if you need it delivered. Call Diane at 250-306-7800 for more information.

An update on Schubert Centre’s plans to build condos for seniors on their site came from manager Jack Gareb; they are forging ahead, with a sales office now open on the property. The good news is that B.C. Housing has agreed to provide funding for six units of affordable housing for low-income seniors who qualify, and the rent would amount to about one-third of income. Building will begin when 50 per cent of the units are sold.

If you have any comments or questions you can reach me at 250-542-7928 or e-mail

Pat Black writes about issues of importance to seniors in the North Okanagan, appearing every other Sunday.


Pop-up banner image ×