Cowichan Bay's Tanya Court is filing a complain with health authorities over her alleged mistreatment at the Cowichan District Hospital. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Alleged mistreatment at hospital has Cowichan Bay woman speaking out

Island Health says it will investigate

Cowichan Bay’s Tanya Court is lodging an official complaint with heath authorities over her alleged mistreatment at the Cowichan District Hospital on Dec. 16.

Court, a medical assistant to a specialist in Victoria, had major surgery on her tibia (lower leg bone) at Victoria General Hospital on Dec. 15, but was released the next day due to her medical background and the availability of family support at home, along with how well she was coping with the pain.

She said she received a call from the surgical floor at VGH that afternoon and was asked to go to the CDH for X-rays that were missed prior to release.

Court said a nurse at VGH told her the nurse had called the CDH imaging department and made arrangements for her to be seen and confirmed receipt of the surgeon’s X-ray requisition.

Her husband Brad then drove her to the CDH.

“When we got to the ER, they said no outpatient X-rays are done on weekends,” Court said.

“We explained the situation and were told the receptionist was on break and should return in 15 minutes, which turned into one hour. I was so exhausted and in so much pain, I had lost all colour in my face and was nauseous. Brad spent 40 minutes trying to explain to the receptionist what we were told, and calls to the surgical floor confirmed this.”

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Court said the receptionist told them that until the surgeon called her personally, she would not do the X-rays.

Court said that when she could no longer endure the pain, she went out to her vehicle to lie down.

“When I left, the receptionist said ‘When the surgeon calls, I will tell him you chose to leave’,” Court said.

“No X-rays were done, we were very frustrated and I was in a lot of pain.”

Court said she and Brad then went home, but the pain became so intense they called 911 and were taken back to CDH by ambulance.

She said a staff member at the ER walked past and stated that she knew her, and they were then left for 30 minutes without anyone checking on her condition, even though the ER was empty of patients at the time, and had to wait even longer before she was admitted to a bed.

More time passed before a doctor arrived to assess her, and Court said the assessment was done in a “mean fashion” which put her in even more pain.

Court said she was finally taken for X-rays, but more than another hour passed before the doctor returned.

She said the doctor told them that everything looked “OK”, but he was unable to see some aspects of the surgical work on her tibia and she should inform her surgeon.

Court said she was then discharged from the hospital.

She said she did suffer some internal bleeding, and it bled down her leg and into her foot.

“I am on the mend, but I’m scared to go to CDH for medical treatment as I’m unsure if proper medical care will be given,” Court said.

A statement from Island Health said the health authority can’t speak about specific patients for privacy reasons, but with all patients and clients, Island Health is committed to quality care and safety.

“When urgent and special cases present a requisition for X-ray services at Cowichan District Hospital, those patients are accommodated,” the statement said.

“X-ray is also available to emergency room patients at CDH. Routine outpatient X-ray services are not available on weekends or overnight at CDH. We ask the patient to contact our Patient Care Quality Office and we will review the case to see how we can improve going forward at http://www.viha.ca/patientcarequalityoffice.”

Brad Court said his wife’s care at the CDH was negligent to the point of life threatening.

“Tanya was on blood thinner meds and was going into shock and nobody there seemed to care and I don’t know what’s worse, that they did that to punish her because of my previous outburst at the X-ray receptionist or that the staff were rude and incompetent to the point they endangered the life of a person,” he said.

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