‘I don’t want to die,’ says woman stuck in Abbotsford hospital ER with pneumonia & heart condition

‘I don’t want to die,’ says woman stuck in Abbotsford hospital ER with pneumonia & heart condition

Woman with pneumonia spent days next to ER doors, slept in friend’s car in parking lot

A woman with pneumonia and a serious heart ailment is begging for a standard in-patient bed after being stuck in Abbotsford Regional Hospital’s emergency room for a week.

“I don’t want to die,” said Tara. (The News isn’t using her last name for privacy reasons.)

Tara, 49, was brought to hospital several days ago by a friend who found her passed out in one of the homes he rents. She had been in ARH’s intensive care unit earlier in the year for treatment of serious heart issues. She was sent home, though, after doctors told her that she needed to be in better health before a heart operation was possible.

Brought to hospital last week, Tara spent three days in a bed directly in front of the emergency room doors to the outside. Every five minutes, she said the doors would open and deliver a cold blast of air.

“It’s horrible. It’s where all the ambulances come in; people screaming and bleeding on you,” she said.

RELATED: High death rate at Abbotsford Regional Hospital

RELATED: Last year, 64 more people died than expected at Abbotsford Regional Hospital

RELATED: FULL HOUSE: Patients feel the effects, with Abbotsford hospital at 118% capacity

After a friend posted on Facebook about her plight, Tara’s bed was moved, but only to another busy ER hallway.

“My cold and my pneumonia has gotten 100 per cent worse,” she said. “I need to get out of the hallway so I can get some proper rest.”

She says she feels sicker, but that her doctor has brushed off her concerns and not answered her questions.

When The News has previously reported on those stuck in hospital hallways for long periods, officials have frequently said that only medically stable patients are left in such condition.

But Steve Simpson, the friend who brought Tara to hospital, said he has been told Tara’s condition is dire, and he is hoping to secure a transfer for her to a hospital in Vancouver.

“She’s got all sorts of issues,” he said. “She’s a good person who really needs some medical help.”

Simpson believes Tara’s previous use of drugs several years ago has led health workers to treat his friend differently. Tara would occasionally leave the ER, and Simpson said nurses seemed to think those absences were drug-related.

But Tara said that’s not the case and that she left the ER just to get some peace and quiet:

“My friend would come and I would go sleep in his car for an hour or two in the parking lot, just so I can get some rest,” she said. “It’s really messed up. I don’t know what the hell is wrong with this place.”

Construction recently began on an expanded emergency department for ARH. Meanwhile, new figures show the hospital has an above-average mortality rate after dozens more patients died last year than would be expected by statistical models.

Long stays in Abbotsford’s ER room are not infrequent. One in 10 patients at ARH spend more than three days in its emergency department. Those figures are significantly higher than the Canadian, provincial and Fraser Health average. ARH and nearby Chilliwack General Hospital are the two-most crowded large hospitals in B.C., with both operating at more than 115 per cent capacity last year.

In a statement, a Fraser Health spokesperson wrote: “We are aware of this situation and have been working directly with the patient to address her concerns. We recognize that being in a hospital bed in a non-private area is not ideal and it is difficult for patients and their families.”

The spokesperson added that emergency departments do not turn people away and pointed to work being done to expand the ER. Construction is expected to be complete in 2021.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
tolsen@abbynews.com


@ty_olsen
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

Police seized two fake guns and a knife on Saturday along Gladys Avenue in east Abbotsford.
Man arrested in Abbotsford after having fake gun for second time this year

Officers respond to all firearm calls as if the guns are real, police say

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
UPDATE: Tabor Home records 16 deaths and 124 COVID-19 cases

63 per cent of residents at Abbotsford long-term-care facility have tested positive

Elementary teacher Jo-Ann Lindahl poses with her students following an outdoor ‘closing circle’ in which they discussed what they had learned that day. (Image submitted)
Mission elementary teacher to receive national Indigenous educator award

Jo-Ann Lindahl named a 2020 Guiding the Journey: Educator Award recipient

Google Maps screenshot taken at 7:06 a.m.
Early-morning crash on Highway 1 has morning commuters in gridlock

Westbound crash occurred in Langley, west of 264th Street; left lane blocked

Swoop Airlines. (Contributed)
COVID-19 case reported on Abbotsford-bound flight last week

Affected flight landed in Abbotsford on Nov. 16

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

(Pixabay.com)
Man, 28, warned by Kootenay police to stop asking people to marry him

A woman initially reported the incident to police before they discovered others had been popped the question

Winston Blackmore (left) and James Oler (right) were sentenced on separate charges of polygamy this week in Cranbrook Supreme Court.
No more charges expected in Bountiful investigation, special prosecutor says

Special prosecutor says mandate has ended following review of evidence from Bountiful investigations

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

BC Teachers' Federation President Teri Mooring is asking parents of school-aged children to encourage the wearing of masks when possible in schools. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
LETTER: Teachers union encourages culture of mask wearing in B.C. schools

BCTF President Teri Mooring asks parents to talk with children about wearing masks in school

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Police lights
Vancouver elementary school locked down after unknown man walks into classroom

Police arrested the man and sent him for a psych evaluation

(Pixabay)
All dance studios, other indoor group fitness facilities must close amid updated COVID-19 rules

Prior announcement had said everything except spin, HIIT and hot yoga could remain open

B.C. Liberal interim leader Shirley Bond speaks to reporters from Prince George via Zoom conference, Nov. 24, 2020. MLAs are being sworn in for the legislature session this week, many of them also by video. (B.C. legislature)
B.C. Liberal leadership contest will wait for election post-mortem

Interim leader set to face NDP on payments for COVID-19

Most Read