Wakefield, Quebec Hospital, more harm than good?

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by admin on September 23, 2009

The Editor,

In the past six months I’ve had two experiences with the Wakefield, Quebec Hospital (WH) and in both events I feel they caused more harm then they helped.

One evening last April, I had a severe bellyache with more intense pain that increased when I pushed on the right lower quadrant of my belly. Thinking it was my appendix, at 1:30 a.m. I drove myself to the Wakefield Hospital for an ultrasound. I learned they don’t have an ultrasound machine and so they took some blood instead. Of course the lab isn’t open at night and the doctor suggested admitting me in case my situation worsened. Preferring to sleep at home, at 9 a.m. I returned to the WH, and at 9:30 I was on a bed in the hall of the ER.

The doctor assessed me, thought it might be my appendix, but was still waiting for my blood work to return. At 1 p.m., I still hadn’t been seen again and I told the nurse that I thought I was in the wrong hospital and was going to leave. She told me that I was in the right hospital and the doctor would be right with me. Ten minutes later I was told my blood work was inconclusive and I would need to go to the Gatineau Hospital for an ultrasound. So I drove myself there and immediately had my ultrasound and underwent surgery that evening.

In this instance, the Wakefield Hospital didn’t help me in any way and delayed my definitive treatment by at least 12 hours.

This past week my wife was thrown from her horse at our farm 20 minutes north of Wakefield, just east of the Paugan Dam. I didn’t see the accident happen but when I found her she was unconscious, her helmet was dented and her face was badly bruised. I raced to my neighbour’s house and had him call an ambulance. When I returned Monique was conscious but extremely confused and disoriented. She stayed this way for another 15 minutes. It took the ambulance an hour to reach us.

I was told Monique would be transported to the WH. I explained that she had suffered a brain injury and required a CT scan that the WH didn’t possess. I requested she go straight to a trauma centre. My request was refused and Monique was transported to Wakefield, the ambulance traveling via Low, which is approximately 10 km (or 50 per cent) further than the most direct route.

Once in the ER it was ascertained that Monique had suffered a brain injury and would require a CT scan. The initial plan though was to perform some x-rays to clear her c-spine. In the meantime though, the ambulance would leave Wakefield and could take hours to return. So I called the Civic Hospital ER in Ottawa and had a doctor there agree to accept her immediately and perform the necessary x-rays and CT scan. Luckily the Wakefield ER doctor agreed to send her with the still available ambulance immediately.

Much to my surprise though, the ambulance wouldn’t provide the transport until I paid for it in full by credit card!

In this case, again the WH provided no care and delayed Monique’s definitive care by only an hour. Had the ambulance left Wakefield though, her care could have been delayed by many hours.

The problems I see here are multiple: First I feel we have a clinic here in Wakefield that is masquerading as a hospital.

Secondly, waiting an hour for an ambulance is completely unacceptable.

I’d like to see some action and support from the local residents and officials. Who agrees with me that something needs to be done to improve the emergent health care in this region?

Mike Caldwell

Denholm