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I was naive to believe our health care system would take care of her

Sharon, Lethbridge, Alberta

May 20th, 2015


It is coming up the first anniversary of my mother’s death.  I wrote a letter to the editor that was published October 26, 2014.

My late mother Barbara Davies fractured her hip on May 9, 2014 and was taken by ambulance to Chinook Regional Hospital where her condition wasn’t considered life threatening.  She spent close to two hours in the hallway outside of the ER and when she finally got into the ER she wasn’t seen by a doctor until three hours later.  My mother waited almost 51 hours for surgery following her fateful fall.  She developed a large clot between her heart and lungs during surgery and never recovered dying on her birthday May 20, 2014.  

I have been in contact with the hospital and they are doing a “Quality Assurance Review”.  My concern is that this review will never be available to myself or others who have lost loved ones.  I wonder how many other patients have died similar to my Mom as they too waited for surgery?  Only Chinook Regional Hospital knows!  There should have been steps taken to reduce the chance of blood clots and I am told there is a coding for the operating room that was never updated, remaining at E24 (24 hours) Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Who will be the watchdog to ensure future patients get timely surgery to save their lives?

My late mother had a keen mind, lived on her own and loved life. She deserved a chance at life but died needlessly waiting for surgery. Our daughter’s dog broke its femur on a Sunday a few weeks after my mother died. Their dog was operated on within 3 hours of the accident and is alive and well today unlike my late mother.   HOW STRANGE IT IS THAT OUR PETS RECEIVE IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION WHILE SOMEONE LIKE MY MOTHER DIES WAITING FOR MEDICAL ATTENTION!!!

“Nothing about the past losses I have experienced prepared me for the loss of my mother.  A mother, after all, is your entry into the world. She is the shell in which you divide and become a life. Waking up in a world without her is like waking up in a world without sky: unimaginable. "

Not only did the hospital let her down, but I did too as I was naive to believe our health care system would take care of her.  I will live with that guilt the rest of my life!

Sharon (Davies) Fogtmann


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Debbie, Kelowna, BC wrote 9 years ago

I read your story Sharon and it has lingered in my thoughts the past few days compelling me to respond. You must not live with guilt.

Our healthcare system has been allowed to evolve into an enormous monopolized entity that has created an environment based on the rhetoric that waiting is necessary and acceptable. Fundamental decisions that guide healthcare delivery in our country are made by bureaucrats focused on budgets that no longer make sense because truly waiting for healthcare results in higher costs to everyone. Most people understand waiting is a gamble when it comes to our health; simple things can quickly become major, from stable to non-stable and critical, often irreversible.

Your guilt is one of those hidden costs that will never be factored into a budget. Your story is important and needs to be heard and by telling it you will be able to reclaim your power. We are all at serious risk every day until change is realized. This is why the charter challenge is so important - we must reclaim our human right to timely healthcare. To make the necessary systemic change we need to change the system.

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