Major problem in our health care system

Are you aware this will happen to you if you require orthopedic surgery following an accident?
The following is a major problem in our health care system. What is the solution?

Dear Editor;

Are you aware this will happen to you if you require orthopedic surgery following an accident?

The following is a major problem in our health care system. What is the solution?

My brother was in a farm accident on Sept. 11, 2008, suffering a fractured hip and was taken by ambulance from Ponoka to our Regional Hospital in Red Deer that day to have surgery. He waited five days, until Sept. 16 for that surgery.

We were told that there is insufficient Operating Room staff to operate more than one OR on the weekend (or after five p.m. for that matter). The fractures are bumped for other life-threatening surgeries. This is understandable but what a waste of health care dollars (from wasted hospital days) as well as increased suffering and decreased strength for those awaiting surgery.

Also, the six orthopedic surgeons in Red Deer must be extremely frustrated. More of our well trained surgeons will be leaving us and heading south of the border as I am told some are not taking new patients as they have insufficient OR time.

My brother was taken to the OR on one occasion on the weekend only to be bumped at the door – along with the albeit disgruntled surgeon. He was discharged home three days post-op but the story doesn’t end here- he is now back in the Ponoka hospital and has had three trips by ambulance back to Red Deer as they search for a blood clot. We know blood clots are a risk of any surgery but lying still for five days before surgery could have been the cause. His roommate waited four days with a fractured ankle with an open wound, developed a temperature, and was in great pain. This man was shipped home three hours after returning from surgery with an ankle full of hardware. Heaven help you if you do not have family to advocate for you and help-out, even when in hospital.

The money saved on those days awaiting surgery would be much better spent improving salaries to ensure that our Operating Rooms are fully utilized. We must lobby our elected representatives for better use of our health care dollars.

Gwen Plested

Ponoka