A 77-year-old veteran was admitted to hospital with “significant medical issues” on Jan. 17, according to his son Darren Laur who says his father has had no privacy since. (Google Maps)

B.C. hospital apologizes for veteran’s five-day hallway stay

Clinical director of Victoria General Hospital says case of retired veteran ‘definitely excessive’

Victoria General Hospital apologizes for the “definitely excessive” five-day hallway stay of a retired Navy veteran.

The 77-year-old was admitted with “significant medical issues” on Jan. 17, according to his son Darren Laur, retired staff sergeant with the Victoria City Police Department, who says his father has had no privacy since.

“My dad is a symptom of a broken medical system,” Laur tweeted on Wednesday, trying to raise awareness of his father’s plight.

RELATED: Overworked and understaffed: More than 300 vacancies in Vancouver Island nursing

Clinical director for Victoria General Hospital, Mark Blandford, confirmed Wednesday that the veteran is now in a room.

“We apologize, as his case was definitely excessive and we didn’t catch it,” said Blandford, going on to explain that during times of high patient volumes the hospital often has patients in the hallway.

The 35-year-old hospital is generally at capacity year-round, said Blandford, but often goes overcapacity when flu season strikes. When there are more patients than space, some are treated in the hallways.

“We try to limit it to a maximum two or three days. We missed this one. It was too long,” said Blandford. “We’re looking at procedures around this so we can learn from it.”

Island Health apologized to the family as well, saying care provided in overcapacity environments is generally a temporary situation while patients are in transition to units or awaiting an inpatient room.

“We know when it’s extremely busy some patients are being cared for in temporary and less than ideal places including hallways. We apologize for this,” said Island Health spokeswoman Meribeth Burton. “We never turn patients away and our goal is always to deliver high quality care in an environment of continuous improvement.”

In his Twitter threads about his father’s situation, Laur blames the problem on a lack of funding.

“My dad is like a canary in a coal mine that is sending a clear message that something bad is happening. What is really sad, my dad and his generation are the canaries right now, and they deserve better that this,” wrote Laur.

Blandford said the hospital is adequately funded for its 330 beds, and that it is the space limitations that cause the overcapacity issues.

VGH works closely with Royal Jubilee Hospital, transferring patients when necessary.

“We consider ourselves one hospital with two sites,” Blandford said.

Due to that flexibility, all Island Health facilities continue to have capacity to respond to critical and emergency cases despite the high patient volumes, Burton assured.

RELATED: Tentative deal reached for 44,000 nurses across B.C.

While Laur was appreciative of the apologies, saying the empathy Burton showed publicly meant a lot to his family, he didn’t believe his father’s situation is a rarity.

“What about the other ones in the hallway? Another senior was in the hall for 10 days,” said Laur.

He is calling on the federal and provincial government to better fund health care.

“This is not just about my dad. This is a national issue,” Laur said, who has been receiving messages of support from across the country from others experiencing ‘hallway medicine.’

“There is a huge influx of us coming up in the system. What are we going to do when my generation comes up if the hospitals are already overcapacity?”

Currently, Island Health has more nursing vacancies listed online than any other health authority in B.C.

In an in interview with Black Press last week on the topic of the B.C. nursing shortage, BC Nurses’ Union (BCNU) president Christine Sorensen said, “Nurses are 100 per cent committed to providing safe patient care but it is difficult to do so in a system that is underfunded, understaffed and frequently over capacity.”

The shortage creates long wait times for patients and what Sorensen calls ‘hallway nursing.’

“I don’t blame VIHA for my dad’s situation,” said Laur. “This is a multifactoral issue. I blame the broken system that ultimately comes down to the issue of money.”

with files from Nina Grossman

Follow us on Instagram
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

Young Abbotsford cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. families financially affected by pandemic eligible for grocery gift cards

Program open to struggling families in Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley communities

Abbotsford parents upset as district gets cohort exemption to maximizes class sizes at elementary school

Classes and cohorts shuffled after division eliminated at King Traditional elementary school

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Vancouver Island for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

COLUMN: We don’t need an election. But it’s 2020, so we’ll probably get one anyways.

There are only selfish reasons for the NDP to trigger an election this fall

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

VIDEO: Shots fired outside Langley gas station that was scene of 2018 homicide

No reports of injuries in Saturday evening incident

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Air quality advisory ends for the Lower Mainland

It had been in effect since Sept. 8

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Most Read