‘I don’t want to die,’ says woman stuck in B.C. hospital ER with pneumonia & heart condition

Woman with pneumonia spent days next to ER doors, slept in friend’s car in parking lot

A woman with pneumonia and a serious heart ailment is begging for a standard in-patient bed after being stuck in Abbotsford Regional Hospital’s emergency room for a week.

“I don’t want to die,” said Tara. (The News isn’t using her last name for privacy reasons.)

Tara, 49, was brought to hospital several days ago by a friend who found her passed out in one of the homes he rents. She had been in ARH’s intensive care unit earlier in the year for treatment of serious heart issues. She was sent home, though, after doctors told her that she needed to be in better health before a heart operation was possible.

Brought to hospital last Monday, Tara spent three days in a bed directly in front of the emergency room doors to the outside. Every five minutes, she said the doors would open and deliver a cold blast of air.

“It’s horrible. It’s where all the ambulances come in; people screaming and bleeding on you,” she said.

RELATED: High death rate at Abbotsford Regional Hospital

RELATED: Last year, 64 more people died than expected at Abbotsford Regional Hospital

RELATED: FULL HOUSE: Patients feel the effects, with Abbotsford hospital at 118% capacity

After a friend posted on Facebook about her plight, Tara’s bed was moved, but only to another busy ER hallway.

“My cold and my pneumonia has gotten 100 per cent worse,” she said. “I need to get out of the hallway so I can get some proper rest.”

She says she feels sicker, but that her doctor has brushed off her concerns and not answered her questions.

When The News has previously reported on those stuck in hospital hallways for long periods, officials have frequently said that only medically stable patients are left in such condition.

But Steve Simpson, the friend who brought Tara to hospital, said he has been told Tara’s condition is dire, and he is hoping to secure a transfer for her to a hospital in Vancouver.

“She’s got all sorts of issues,” he said. “She’s a good person who really needs some medical help.”

Simpson believes Tara’s previous use of drugs several years ago has led health workers to treat his friend differently. Tara would occasionally leave the ER, and Simpson said nurses seemed to think those absences were drug-related.

But Tara said that’s not the case and that she left the ER just to get some peace and quiet:

“My friend would come and I would go sleep in his car for an hour or two in the parking lot, just so I can get some rest,” she said. “It’s really messed up. I don’t know what the hell is wrong with this place.”

Construction recently began on a new emergency department for ARH. Meanwhile, new figures show the hospital has an above-average mortality rate after dozens more patients died last year than would be expected by statistical models.

Long stays in Abbotsford’s ER room are not infrequent. One in 10 patients at ARH spend more than three days in its emergency department. Those figures are significantly higher than the Canadian, provincial and Fraser Health average. ARH and nearby Chilliwack General Hospital are the two-most crowded large hospitals in B.C., with both operating at more than 115 per cent capacity last year.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
tolsen@abbynews.com


@ty_olsen
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Do not push the button’: Downtown Kelowna crossings go touchless amid COVID-19 pandemic

The pedestrian crossings at 19 intersections were automated last week to reduce contact points

Join the Regional District on Instagram Live

The Regional District of Central Okanagan parks interpretive programs are going online

COVID-19: Diabetes Canada donation bins becoming garbage dumps amid pandemic

Diabetes Canada has asked residents to stop overflowing bins with donations and garbage

Okanagan College students receive emergency funding

Funding is available to domestic and Indigenous students from the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training

Lake Country ceases tourism operations for 2020, Okanagan tourism continues to suffer

The District of Lake Country voted to suspend tourism on March 31

N95 masks on the way for Canada after 3M reaches deal with White House

The Trump White House had ordered 3M to stop shipping masks to Canada

Summerland couple sharing positive messages

Carsten and Val Nielsen are displaying professionally made signs during COVID-19 pandemic

COLUMN: The other graph that shows B.C. can beat COVID-19

Is the curve being flattened? data on hospitalizations provides a crucial answer.

COVID-19: Vernon company creates reusable respirators

From athletes to those most at risk, VO2 Master’s adapts production to fill PPE need

Okanagan College grading system critical despite COVID-19 pandemic

On heels of petition penned by student, VP academic says grading system necessary for accurate assessments

Here’s how to talk to people who aren’t taking physical distancing seriously

Approach the conversation with empathy says conflict expert

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

Most Read