To the Editor,
I was in pain and bleeding from the rectum on the morning of April 12, so I went to the emergency department at the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre.
I was seen within a reasonable length of time and the doctor decided to keep me and do a bowel exam the next day. I was put on a gurney in the hall (a 24-inch wide metal excuse for a bed and the most uncomfortable thing I have ever slept on} and was started on an IV drip.
They had no place to put me since the place was packed, so at midnight they pushed me into a utility closet where I spent the night.
The next day I got my bowel exploratory and was found to have a severe infection so I was admitted. This resulted in my being placed in a larger room in the emergency ward, where I stayed until my release on the April 15.
I was on two powerful antibiotics and I was told to go home and return if I started to run a fever.
You might think I am writing this letter to complain about what was at best a bad experience, but that is not the case.
I am concerned at what this overcrowding is doing to our health care professionals. I overheard one nurse say she didn't care how short-staffed they were, the next time they asked her to work down here she was going to flatly refuse, and frankly I don't blame her.
I saw a lot of frustration on the faces of nurses and doctors who are being asked to put up with these conditions.
We wonder why we have have so much trouble recruiting and maintain medical staff. Well, look no further, overcrowding will do it every time.
I blame this on the government and their lack of planning. I was told that the reason people are being warehoused in the emergency department is because we have too many elderly taking up acute-care beds. These elderly patients are there waiting for placement in a nursing home (some of them have been there more than five months).
Now you may ask why doesn't someone build a nursing home to accommodate these elderly, but it is not that simple. You have to get an agreement from the government that they will pay for the beds and therein lies the rub. This government knows that Cumberland County has the biggest percentage of elderly in the province, but they have not been forthcoming with the nursing-care beds needed.
Please remember this this when the next election rolls around. Until then, I admire the dedication and professionalism of our medical staff in putting up with the conditions they are asked to work under at our hospital.
Walt Jones, Amherst