Health system needs fixing

Resident relates how the health care system impacted him

I thought I would share my latest contact with our health care system.

Recently, while doing yard work, I cut my hand badly enough that I realized I was in need of having the wound sutured, being unable to stop the bleedings and unable to apply a proper dressing.

I drove to the Armstrong clinic, asking for a nurse to examine my cut hand.

The attending nurse asked if I had a family doctor in Armstrong, at which time I advised her that my family doctor was located in Vernon. The nurse then suggested that I attend a walk-in clinic in Vernon or attend Vernon Jubilee Hospital to get treatment for my wound.

The nurse then asked if I was feeling well enough to drive myself into Vernon. Failing that, they would contact an ambulance for me to attend the emergency unit at Vernon hospital.

I asked the nurse if she would, at the very least, apply a proper dressing for the would to prevent further bleeding which she kindly did. Needless to say, I was very surprised that I could not get my wound sutured at the Armstrong clinic and found myself driving to the Vernon hospital.

When I got to the Vernon hospital, I could not find a parking space in the area of the emergency zone and ended up parking in the handicapped zone which was closer to the emergency entrance to the hospital. I left my bloody towel on the dash hoping that the parking attendant would realize that I was in the emergency unit and not ticket my vehicle.

After an hour waiting time, I finally got to see the doctor in emergency. When she realized I was a resident of Armstrong, she asked why I did not attend the Armstrong clinic to get proper treatment.

I told the doctor that I did attend there but the nurse on duty informed that I could not get my cut treated there for reasons previously stated.

Needless to say, the doctor at the Vernon hospital emergency unit was very surprised to hear that I could not get my hand wound properly treated at the Armstrong clinic.

I wonder how many of us are aware of just how our health care system is working or should I say not working if and when we require treatment of any sort, especially if the attendance of a doctor is required.

Furthermore, the reason I have a family doctor in Vernon is simply because I could not get one in Armstrong, period.

No doubt there are many other people who have experienced circumstances similar to mine but have shrugged their shoulders and accepted our health care system as it is, and I am writing this letter on their behalf as well.

It would seem that our communities outside of Vernon have been left to accept the health care system as it is without resolve.

Is it because we do not have sufficient doctors available to service our communities or simply the cost factor which seems to be the most reasonable excuse our provincial government and health authorities can come up with.

As is often said, only the users of our health care system really know its shortcomings with many experiencing tragic outcomes. They remain the silent majority.

We are well on our way to losing our reputation as having one of the best health care systems in the world and deservingly so.


Len Eddy