A South Cariboo woman is raising concerns about the way out-of-area patients are being discharged from the hospital in Kamloops.
Olivia Fletcher was involved in a rollover crash outside the community of Clinton on Nov. 15.
“I was pinned in the vehicle. I ended up with quite a few injuries. They decided that they needed to send me to Kamloops.”
The first responders cut off her clothes in order to treat her, and rushed her off to Royal Inland Hospital.
“I went to Kamloops and, I mean, the care was fine while I was there,” Fletcher said. “At [1 p.m.], they told me – keep in mind I have no shoes, no clothes whatsoever – they told me that I’m being released to the streets and I have to find my own way.”
She said there was “no way” she could get back to 100 Mile House on her own, not only because she had nothing of her own to wear and because she was on pain medication for a concussion.
According to Fletcher, hospital staff told her that’s the way it is.
“I made it very clear that that was not going to be happening and that the only people taking me home would be them or a news crew because this is not acceptable.”
After fighting with staff for five hours, she said, they gave her a $400 taxi voucher.
Now, Fletcher said she worries about other patients, because not everyone will fight for and get that ride home.
Tracey Rannie, Royal Inland’s executive director of clinical operations, said she could not comment on a specific patient, but that staff follow proper discharge procedures.
“Discharges from hospital are planned with the patient, physician and care team, and would include involvement of a social worker if a patient has specific needs or challenges,” Rannie said.
Staff do provide patients with options, including taxi vouchers, if they cannot get a ride from family or friends, she said.
“Clothing and shoes are offered if an individual arrives without their own.”
Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett said it’s been this way as long as she can remember, but it seems to be getting worse.
“We have a transportation system, but it’s only two days a week,” Barnett said.
“I think that these things need to be looked into and that there needs to be more care taken with people from rural British Columbia who don’t have access to taxis and buses and things like that as much like cities do.”
“I’m horrified,” she said. “You can’t even call yourself a nurse if you’re willing to go out of the way to get [patients] to where they need to be [only to] throw them out into the cold street.”
It’s not the first time the issue of discharges has been raised.
At an Interior Health public meeting in Ashcroft on Oct. 18, one member of the public said he had a health situation that sometimes takes him to Kamloops.
“The last time I was there, I was discharged at 3 a.m. Who do I call?”
- with files from Barbara Roden