Author Topic: A VULNERABLE VETERAN'S VIGNETTES AT STE. ANNE'S HOSPITAL  (Read 1422 times)

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Sylvain Chartrand CD

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A VULNERABLE VETERAN'S VIGNETTES AT STE. ANNE'S HOSPITAL
« on: October 13, 2016, 03:55:31 PM »





This is an account of what happened very recently to one particular patient/Veteran  at Ste. Anne's Hospital,  reflecting upon the post -transfer diminution and deterioration in level of care, such as he had never before experienced during his years there as a resident Veteran, now that. the facility has been taken over under the aegis of Quebec.

The first incident occurred when, after the patient had a bowel movement while in bed, and a team of one orderly and one nurse were despatched to clean him up, the orderly accidentally smeared part of the bed sheet with the feces,  and then hastened to attempt to wipe it off.  When the patient, who was unable to see all of what was happening, inquired as to what was being done, the nurse replied that it was only some water that had spilled onto the sheet, and they were trying to rub it dry.  But as the orderly kept on scrubbing, the patient then continued to quiz her,  until she finally admitted that the sheet was indeed soiled,  and she was trying to clean it off. When the patient then asked for a fresh sheet instead, the nurse demurred, saying "It will be OK this way, you don't need a new sheet, it's only a wet patch", until the patient adamantly refused to accept the dirtied sheet, and she finally acceded to his request.
.....Hardly conducive to the patient's health and welfare.

The second sign of the "New (dis)Order" took place when a nurse arrived  one morning to draw blood from  the patient's finger for a diabetes test.  At that moment, the patient observed and protested that the nurse was not wearing prophylactic gloves throughout the entire procedure, to which she dismissively responded " Don't worry, it's perfectly allright, that's not necessary... I never wear gloves for this", and she continued in that manner until she had finished, leaving behind her, on the patient's bedside food table, the used needle and torn wrapper of  the gauze patch (which the patient had to request). When the patient noted that she must have come to his room, with her tray of equipment, after having first similarly attended, without wearing gloves, to a number of other patients needing blood tests, the nurse merely shrugged it off.
.....Does not augur well for the patient's peace of mind and/or sense of security re the state of sanitization prevailing on the premises.

The third and final factor in this trifecta of troubles,  surfaced when the patient developed an infection in one finger and, after it persisted for several days, asked to have the assigned Doctor  examine and treat what had become an increasingly swollen, discoloured  and painful condition. While that day was not on the once-weekly(!)  schedule for the Doctor to visit the patient's  floor, nevertheless the nurse tried to reach out , only to find the Dr. was not responding to being paged.  She then contacted the "duty Dr.",only to be informed that the latter was too busy with more major emergencies affecting the many newly arrived "civilian" patients, and the Veteran, would have to wait until his assigned Dr. would be available, whenever that might be.
.....Certainly no cause for confidence in the degree of medical attention available.
[ As a possibly pertinent aside, one cannot help but wonder whether the second and third episodes described above, are merely coincidental, or causally related , as it was the same finger on both occasions ].

While not necessarily matters of "life and death", these instances are clearly symptomatic of the downward spiral of care, attention and attitudes on the part of all levels of staff, in whose hands the patient is, even now, beginning to lose confidence and faith, with mounting concern for his future fate (and that of his fellow-Veterans), subject to increasing Provincial protocols, coupled with faltering Federal follow-up.
.....More than enough to create constant concern about what further failings await  him down the rough and rutted road, yet to be travelled by this (undersigned) patient, namely MYSELF !

 Fortunately for me,   I can cope, more rather than less, with situations like those recounted above, because I am still sufficiently alert, aware, articulate and argumentative to protest against any improper treatment, and insist that my rights be respected.  BUT, I am deeply disturbed by the prospect of similar or equivalent shoddy and unacceptable conduct affecting those many other Veterans,  whose handicaps render them unable to speak at all, or whose temerity and fear of reprisals prevent them from speaking up for themselves. Someone must shield them from harm and protect their rights from being trampled and torn  to tatters.  They certainly cannot rely on the Province-appointed Ombudsman  (in name only), who has already demonstrated her unyielding rigidity in treating with none but the most completely documented, witnessed and otherwise totally validated individual cases, and then only if submitted by the actual complainant, and not by an "outside party" acting on his/her behalf. As a consequence, her "services", such as they are, are being shunned by numbers of  family members,  who are up in arms over the treatment of their beloved, but buffeted Veterans.

That leaves only Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), as the last haven  of hope for the protection and preservation of the promised calibre of care, for the fast decreasing number of Veterans still surviving (but not thriving) at Ste. Anne's Hospital. That being the case, just where is VAC, when it is most needed ?  Could its people be too busy calculating and collecting staff bonuses for their acclaimed  achievements in cost-cutting, at the cost of cutting care for the Veterans, who are the one and only reason for VAC's tenured positions and sated salaries.

Whatever happened to the repeated , respected and regarded rallying cries of......

                                         "LEST WE FORGET"
                                                   and
                                       "LEAVE NO VET BEHIND"
                                                      ?

Have those once- resounding declarations of devotion and dedication become mere pathetic,old and sad  slogans, to be mealy mouthed, as a once-a-year Remembrance Day routine refrain ?
Or will Veterans Affairs Canada live up to its name, and finally fulfil its function, which is to  do right by Its Veterans at Ste. Anne's Hospital, instead of abandoning them, like unwanted orphans, on the cold, forbidding steps of Quebec's complex  of  one-size-fits-all geriatric garages....Eh ?


 Lieut.(Ret'd) wolf William Solkin
 Ste. Anne's Hospital
 Ste.. Anne de Bellevue