Unintended Consequences

The comments below were submitted by community members affected by our health care crisis. If you have any stories to tell regarding “unintended consequences” of inadequate health care or other concerns, please submit a comment on this page.

  • May 16, 2016:  Initially we were very excited at the prospect of getting new doctors in Ashcroft. We visited one of them in Lillooet while the temporary clinic was running last winter. In the course of my visit, the doctor said he would refer me to an allergy clinic in Kelowna. Months went by with no word. I finally called the clinic in Kelowna and they had never received a referral. I have gone months without allergy relief due to this doctor not doing or following up on what he said he would do. I ended up traveling the 5 hours to my old doctor to get the badly needed referral. I had a call and an appointment from the allergy clinic within a week.
  • September 24, 2015: Jim, while at the Seniors’ Games in East Vancouver, broke his wrist while playing the first curling game. We did not realize it at the time and Jim continued to play three more games during the next two days with a swollen hand. Then we drove home and, since it wasn’t possible to get an appointment at the clinic and the ER wasn’t open, Jim had to wait another day for the ER to open. When he was seen by a doc, an x-ray was ordered and it was discovered that his wrist was broken and a plastic cast was put on his arm.
  • August 27, 2015: I must say we are VERY disappointed in hearing that only those that previously had a doctor at the Ashcroft clinic will be included in the “Ashcroft Day” at the Lilooet Clinic. This is very discriminatory and clearly sends a strong message to NOT move to Ashcroft if you want any semblance of a primary care or emergency care. Wellness certainly does NOT await you here. We are feeling left out and losing hope that we will ever have regular medical care. We were also amazed that people (in desperation) who found doctors in other locations are also being excluded. It boils down to the fact that if you did not already have a doctor in Ashcroft, you are out of luck.

    Since learning of this new development, We are now convinced that the two doctors that are supposed to be coming in February 2016 will be accepting only existing Ashcroft Clinic Patients and leave others in the lurch and my partner and I will continue to be denied proper medical care. We  both have medical issues that need regular monitoring and regular prescription refills so this is a huge disappointment and potentially dangerous for us. I’m sure this is true for other people in the area as well.

I had to call paramedics today when I found a lady on the verge of collapse who was a victim of a house fire. Her house was damaged and was in shock, she was frantic about her neighbours and the animals. I was very specific when speaking to the dispatcher (who was based in a different part of the province) about how the ambulance would have to come around via a different street as the fire truck had the street blocked. I gave them the address where we had her resting in the shade. Ages later, someone said the ambulance was sitting on the far side of the fire, blocked by the fire truck. I called again and within five minutes the crew walked up. Once again, dispatch in another city, obviously did NOT give the proper directions to the crew. That happened over and over to us when I would have to call ambulances for my husband.

• One unintended consequence could be that a person has a health issue (not feeling well, etc.) but they do not get it looked at because there is not a doctor available so don’t bother to get it treated. Because they have not seen a doctor it could become a more serious problem that requires much more extensive treatment. This situation ultimately negatively affects a person’s health and leads to greater costs to the system and to the taxpayer.

• A lack of doctors, or identified “doctor alternatives”, has people seeking medical services in other communities, and establishing themselves in clinics that require driving long distances. This is not only inconvenient and expensive to individuals but results in a loss of clientele when trying to re-establish a local clinic. Doctor inconsistency does no-one any good.

• An elderly lady was taken to Ashcroft ER and transferred at once to Royal Inland. Nothing was discovered, so they released her at 12:30 am with limited clothing, no cash or credit cards. There is no record on her husband’s phone of an attempt to contact him in Ashcroft to pick her up. With the help of a friend in Kamloops (12:30 AM, remember) she did get home. Two days later she was again taken to Ashcroft ER, and again transferred at once to Kamloops, where it was discovered that the problem was a complication from surgery that was done in Kelowna. Kamloops contacted Kelowna to arrange immediate transfer and was told that there would be no Kelowna surgery until the following day. Kamloops doctor determined that the situation needed immediate attention and began a 4 hour surgery, at 1:30 AM, to correct the problem. End result: satisfactory, but the surgeon said (unconfirmed) that she would not have lasted the night without the surgery. Problem: why was an 80 year old woman released on the first visit in the middle of the night with no place to go and no resources? And, why was she released at all without appropriated examination to discover what was obviously a serious problem?

• Women who have a family history of breast cancer and get regular mammograms can no longer get them as there is no family doctor, even though their files are still in the Ashcroft Family Medical Clinic.

• Having to travel to a distant community to get medical care is hardest on those who need it most: young families and the elderly. The lack of regular public transit often means having to get friends and neighbours to provide transportation – inconvenient and expensive for all concerned. It also “uses up” medical appointment time and makes it more difficult for residents of the larger community to access their own facilities.

• Many people have had to relocate from a small community to a larger one just to accommodate medical needs. This creates a “false poverty” as it is more expensive to live in the larger community: housing cannot be replaced for the same price if ones moves from a small to a larger community, and often in the larger community one is farther away from other needs such as shopping recreation and entertainment requiring higher short-haul transportation costs. Giving up one’s long-time home and friends in the later years of life imposes its own toll and probably ends up costing the health-care system more dollars in the long run.

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