Overwhelmed and under served | Knowledge.ca
Overwhelmed and under served
Submitted by:
Craig Strickland

Randy was delivered by ambulance to LMH. He had congestive heart failure and was 83. We followed a few minutes later. Randy was on a stretcher in the narrow confining hallway. Handmade numbers stuck to the wall mark the spots. LMH, ER has a low ceiling and is very cramped. Walls are chipped and marked and it feels like a MASH episode from TV. We talked to Randy for a few minutes, it was about 11am. We then left as my partner, a nurse at another hospital, had to prepare for his 12 hr shift. At 6 pm or so Randy phoned home, "Get me out of here!" he repeated in a low raspy voice.

I called my partner at work who told me to call LMH and talk with the nurse caring for Randy. I called LMH and got through to the ER. I asked for Randy's nurse. For over 20 minutes I listened to what sounded like chaos as the receiver lay on a counter. I hung up and drove to the hospital and went through the ambulance entrance to find Randy exactly where we had left him that morning. However, now there was a man in handcuffs jumping up and down between 2 cops while a woman wailed in a side room a few feet away.

I told the first hospital person I saw that I was taking Randy home and got him ready to leave. Finally, a very exhausted looking nurse arrived and said that Randy could only leave if he could walk out. Fortunately she showed me how to correctly support Randy and out the door we went. It was 7pm.

Randy used every bit of strength and determination he had to flee LMH. He died a few weeks later at home in his own bed with his Chocolate Lab at his side.

My personal experience at LMH have all been problematic. I do not recommend it.

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