Finally, attention is being paid to the appalling infection rates at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital.
The Trail Hospital has long been notorious for infections stemming from surgery. Everyone knows people arrange to go elsewhere at great personal cost and inconvenience. No doubt some would accuse these people and myself of being alarmist, but this story resonates throughout the Kootenays.
It is good that hip and knee replacements are temporarily cancelled, supposedly because of a “little blip” in elevated rates of infection. How bad must it be for this situation to have finally come to light when people have been talking about this for years?
Cancelling hip and knee operations is not enough. What would make anyone think it was a good idea to reassign time to other surgeries when the infection problem is not understood? Why would it be safe to perform these operations, when there is an elevated rate of infection? Are germs really that selective? Clearly, no one knows: they acknowledge they don’t know what is happening.
A public inquiry would unearth a truckload of anecdotal evidence about infection at the Trail Hospital.
I have two friends who experienced life-threatening infections from routine surgery. And I contracted a mysterious infection that nearly killed me when I had a hernia operation there.
Some folks in the know say one reason for the high rate of infection is the contracting out of cleaning in some areas, reduced funding (thus time allotted), and less training everywhere. Certainly, I was appalled at how dirty the hospital was when I was in there, and I have heard the same concerns from others.
I hope people come forward and force the IHA and the hospital system, in general, to change how things are done so that the hospital is once more a place where people go to get well, not be made sicker. The problem is systemic and needs to be addressed.
We need a new central hospital, as was promised to us by then Health Minister Corky Evans when the NDP was last in power.