A well-known local Elvis impersonator says he is on his deathbed in a hallway at Abbotsford Regional Hospital (ARH).
Randy Friskie of Abbotsford says he has been in the hospital for seven days, and had not yet been moved to a room as of noon on Friday (Aug. 12).
Instead, he is in a cot outside the nurses’ station on one of the wards.
“It’s really horrible being here. There’s no dignity in it whatsoever,” Friskie told The Abbotsford News.
Friskie, 60, was diagnosed with liver disease about 15 years ago and went to the emergency department a week ago when his throat was closing up and he was in severe pain.
He said he was placed on antibiotics and has had a few blood tests but nothing further has been done since then.
“They’re treating me like a dummy with a sore throat. Meanwhile I’m dying,” he said.
Friskie said it’s too late for him to get a transplant, and he’s not sure if he will survive the weekend, although he’s “still fighting.”
He said, because of being placed in the hallway, he hasn’t been able to have a sponge bath since he was admitted and hasn’t been able to sleep for more than four hours at a time.
Visits with family and friends are difficult because they don’t want to get in the way of the nurses.
He said he sometimes has to wait for the nearby bathroom to be vacant.
Friskie said he hasn’t been told why he’s still in a hallway or when he might be moved to a room.
“I guess I’m just not that important,” he said. “I just don’t want somebody else to be going through this.”
A Fraser Health spokesperson said the agency is concerned to hear about the situation and has talked to Friskie.
“While we cannot speak to the specifics of this case, generally speaking, a patient is only placed in an overflow space when they are more mobile and are expected to have a shorter length of stay and be discharged soon,” the spokesperson said.
“Patients needing a higher level of care or end-of-life support are cared for in areas where we can support them and their families, such as private or semi-private rooms. End-of-life care may be provided in a hospice setting or palliative care as well.”
Friskie said he had to stop performing four years ago because of his health issues.
Until then, he had performed as Elvis at hundreds of concerts and charity events throughout North America, including in Las Vegas.