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

‘I don’t want to die,’ says woman stuck in B.C. 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 Monday, 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 a new 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.

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

The Bella Coola area also received a large dump of snow as seen here Friday, Nov. 27, but by the afternoon it had started to rain there. (submitted photo)
Update: More than 900 Bella Coola customers without power, expected to last overnight

Highway 20 remains closed between Anahim Lake and Bella Coola Friday, Nov. 27

More than 60 cm of snow has fallen at Ulkatcho First Nation since a snowfall warning went into effect Thursday, Nov. 26. (Ruby Squinas photo)
VIDEO: More than 60 cm of snowfall in Chilcotin since Thursday, Nov. 26

Graham West of Ulkatcho First Nation captures the scene on video

Heavy rainfall is expected through the region through today and into Friday (Caitlin Thompson photo)
High streamflow advisory issued for Bella Coola, Central Coast

The heaviest rain is expected Thursday night and into Friday and is expected to ease later Friday

Jennifer Rice is sworn into legislature as NDP BC Northcoast MLA via online ceremonies on Nov. 24 by Premier John Horgan and Kate Ryan-Lloyd clerk of the legislature. (Photo supplied)
Jennifer Rice sworn in as NDP North Coast MLA

BC legislature has highest women governed caucus in Canadian history

The total rainfall amount from the two sets of frontal waves is forecast to be near 100 mm (file photo)
Rainfall warning issued for Bella Coola

The total rainfall amount is forecast to be near 100 mm and could result in localized flooding

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks along the seawall in North Vancouver Wednesday, November 25, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
911 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as B.C. sees deadliest week since pandemic began

Hospitalizations reach more than 300 across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Shoppers line up in front of a shop on Montreal’s Saint-Catherine Street in search of Black Friday deals in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Black Friday shopping in a pandemic: COVID-19 closes some stores, sales move online

Eric Morris, head of retail at Google Canada, says e-commerce in Canada has doubled during the pandemic.

School District 27 announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 this week (Nov. 23) at Lake City Secondary School Williams Lake campus. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Entire gym class at northern B.C. high school isolating after confirmed COVID case

Contact tracing by Interior Health led to the quarantine

Most Read