Wait times inexcusable

My wife, Betty, was one of the casualties of the medical system, after waiting close to 14 months to see a specialist

I applaud the recent letters to the editor re: overcrowding and shortage of beds at the Vernon Jubilee Hospital. I am compelled to add my concerns with the inexcusable wait times to see a medical specialist.

My wife Betty was having bladder problems and her family doctor referred her to a gynecologist for an examination, this appointment took close to 14 months. Several phone calls were made to our family doctor and the specialist during this time to get her concerns addressed in a timely manner to no avail.

When she was finally examined by the gynecologist in November 2010 a growth was discovered. Before a CT scan could be arranged, I rushed my wife to emergency at the Vernon Hospital in severe pain, where a tumour was identified on her bladder. Betty went through several sessions of chemo before surgery at Vancouver General on March 14 to remove her bladder but died of metastasized cancer on July 10.

If the examination had been carried out in a timely manner would she still be alive today? She had just turned 60.

When I phoned Interior Health regarding wait times they said that they had no control because this didn’t happen in their hospitals. My question is, who does have control and responsibility?

My next question is, who sets priorities in government?

We have long delays in treatment, a shortage of beds and medical staff, yet we are told there is no more money for healthcare. Ironically the province had funding for the Olympics, a new roof on BC Place and the GST referendum etc, but cannot fund our health system to a reasonable level.

With these actions they seem prepared to play with people’s lives!

When a person is diagnosed with cancer, speed is of the essence. Cancer can run rampant. The province can’t just say “There is no money.”

With that attitude, people like my wife slip through the cracks and die. Sadly she wasn’t alone in her long wait.

MLA Eric Foster wrote recently that he was part of a demonstration in front of the Vernon hospital, at that time my wife was dying by degrees in the North Okanagan Hospice in Vernon.

I would ask that instead of demonstrating, he and the other MLAs all gather around the table and get moving on improving the healthcare system.

Enough talk and excuses, it’s time for action!

My previously healthy wife of 41 years, Betty, was one of the casualties of the system as it now exists.

How many more Bettys have to die before the problems are taken seriously and REAL priorities are established around that government table? I ask this of our B.C. government, the entire health care system, Interior Health and the doctors.

To all of you who have sadly experienced a similar situation, and who have walked this tragic road with your own loved one, please contact Health Minister Mike de Jong and CC your local MLA Eric Foster demanding the needed improvements.


Brian Rogers, Vernon



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