June 27, 2017 for immediate release
At the Ingersoll Health Hearings held Monday, June 26, by the Ontario Health Coalition, and hosted by the Oxford Coalition for Social Justice, Natalie Mehra, Executive Director of the OHC and Bryan Smith, Chair of the OCSJ, heard harrowing tales of patient suffering, family anxiety and nursing professionals constrained by a system which does not account for medical needs, local wants, or modern science.
One patient told her story of a burst appendix diagnosed on Sunday morning at 7:00 am, a ride from Alexandra hospital to Woodstock for the operation, where the test results from Ingersoll were not accepted, so a delay until 9 pm in the emergency ward and an eventual operation on Tuesday, an unacceptable wait given the risks. Another woman, needing knee surgery since 2013, and now hoping for it in 2018, said “I can work through the pain” but talked about being unable to visit her grandchildren at sports because of physical (and reparable) limitations, about choosing the smallest possible grocery store to reduce the distance she’d walk in search of food for her family (and lying on the cart by the end to relieve the pain), and losing her job as a result of the impairment.
A man spoke of his brother’s shattered leg being operated on and the patient being stabilized enough that he avoided amputation. Then, on Dec. 24th, immobile, he was sent home to care for himself. A CCAC visit would happen in the next 72 hours. Meanwhile, how would the brother feed himself, use the toilet…? A woman spoke of how her long stay on a metal examining table, without any mattress, has scared her two adult children out of hospitals. And a sister told of driving to emergency with a family member in crisis only to be refused care for a mental health crisis, twice.
Front-line workers, nurses and doctors, were systematically praised by those testifying at the hearings for “going above and beyond” – which suggests that standards are indeed too low if professionals feel they need to do more – especially in rural hospitals. Delays in care add to the risk. Part-time staff among various hospitals could well be the vector for disease in multiple sites. While one speaker noted that in the past you could be in emergency at the public hospital, through triage, medicated and sent to follow-up in the space of an hour, as opposed to wait times of 3 to 5 hours now posted at hospitals (and often exceeded), nobody wanted a return to the days before public health when private hospitals would accept the mortgage of your house as payment, and in some cases foreclose.
For more information on the Ingersoll Health Hearings, or those slated for the Fall in Woodstock, contact Bryan Smith at 226 228 8309 or at email@example.com
For more information on the history of Ingersoll’s Alexandra Hospital, contact Cathy Mott at 519-485-2062 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on province-wide health hearings slated for the Fall or on the health care issues in Ontario contact Natalie Mehra at 416 441 2502 or email@example.com