LOCAL EVENTS

Sydney Hospital

Hi my name is Joanne and I am from Ontario and I was visiting my family for Christmas and spending my birthday with my twin in January I flew in on December 12th and I had fallen down the stairs on Saturday December 29th and took a bad fall and hurt my back neck and done bad damage to my foot and ankle we went to Sydney hospital around 11:30am there were only a few paceints in the emergency so I thought it wouldn’t be to long of a wait boy was I wrong in a lot of pain and ask a nurse at 4:45pm how long would the wait be as I informed her I am now having headaches she informed me that I would be seen with 45 minutes I said thank you as time went on it became 7pm and still not been looked at as we see another nurse we asked her how long do we still have to wait and told her what the other nurse had told us and she replied that nurse shouldn’t had said anything to u as u will probably be here all night as she said we just had 7 ambulances that just come in didn’t ask me if I needed a drink or how I was feeling I was now getting frustrated and in a lot of pain I was not going to see a doctor for the rest of the night I now decided to leave as I was leaving I informed them and the only thing that staff had said to me was what room are you in I could not believe of how I was treated and left me feeling helpless I now have to get on a plane to come back to Toronto on December 31st as soon as I was off the plane I went straight to St Micheals hospital to be treat as I was there they informed me that I should not have traveled with the injury I had as I could have got a blood clot being that hi in the air so for 3 days I suffered and had to fly home I now have a cast boot on my foot for 3 months and a mild case of whiplash and also will need extensive therapy I feel that I was treated very poorly and my injuries weren’t a lot worse I feel if I got the treatment I needed maybe I would have my foot in a air cast for 3 months or suffered headaches do to whiplash there is no reason why there is only one hospital open known flue season is here and young children crying because they are so sick I share people’s frustration we all deserve health care and I did not receive medical treatment and had no choice but to leave there is no reason what so ever for the government not to have more hospitals open I’m very disappointed and the taxes I pay and the money I spend every year I come down to visit family I will now know my options and Sydney is not one of my vacation options anymore thank you for putting this issue on the news today I know how people feel on a daily basis as I am a visitor from Ontario jojob

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Joe Ward Follow Me
Thank you for telling your story, Joanne. Very sorry to hear about your injury, but I'm glad you made it home ok and are finally getting proper treatment. I wish that your story was uncommon. Unfortunately, your experience is, in fact, very familiar. Everyone I know is very reluctant to go to emergency, because they know it will take so many hours. I recently broke my toe, and while it was concerning to me, the thought of wasting my time all night in the Emergency Room, very unlikely to actually get to see a doctor, made me decide to stay at home. I pushed the toe back into place and taped it with electric tape. Luckily for me, it healed properly after a couple of weeks. Mine was a minor injury. I feel terrible when I see injuries like yours and worse for people in the ER, scared, sick, or in pain, and waiting for so long for help. Our healthcare system here is a mess.
Joanne Blair My Post Follow Me
Thank you joe for
Ann MacKenzie Follow Me
This is shameful to have happened! I'm so sorry. The provincial gov't on the mainland has put their own needs ahead of Cape Breton. They steal most of the yearly equalization payment from Ottawa that could help us pave roads and provide better medical services to our people.
Sally MacMaster Follow Me
As distressing as this sounds - I have no doubt there are worse experiences than this one. I don’t believe that the delay in treatment for your “whiplash and foot” is prolonging your recovery. There’s no magic fix for whiplash besides time and rest. You don’t get a blood clot from getting on an airplane hurt, you get it from not moving around. People with far worse injuries fly. Yes you were and are in pain, but there were probably people who were sadly even less well that came in and needed to be seen ahead of you. No you should never have to wait this long - but to say that the wait made your injures worse is simply attention seeking and taking away from the people who really do need he attention.
Joanne Blair My Post Follow Me
I’m sorry if you read the post probably you would have understood what I was saying I didn’t say tge wait made my injury worse and I’m sorry call the hospital and ask about blood clots and traveling in high altitudes I was very surprised that the hospital DOCTOR told me your are entitled to your opinion but once again don’t know don’t judge
Sally MacMaster Follow Me
“ I feel if I got the treatment I needed maybe I would have my foot in a air cast for 3 months or suffered headaches do to whiplash“ —> you said it right here. Again I’m sorry you suffered such an injury and had that experience but exaggerating your injury only deducts from the authenticity and anguish of your story. If the doctor told you altitude changes cause blood clots then you should question them everything else he/she said. I have a clotting disorder so I am very familiar. Here is a direct quote from the hematology society “Blood clots can sometimes form in your legs during air travel because you are immobile for long periods of time, often sitting in cramped spaces with little leg room. The clinical term for this type of blood clot is deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The longer the flight, the more at risk you are for developing a clot. Flights lasting 8 to 10 hours or longer pose the greatest risk.” I hope you heal fast, and I hope the state of affairs some how, some way improves before someone does wind up dead from preventable means.
Joe Ward Follow Me
Hindsight is 20/20. It would all be much easier if every citizen had a medical degree and could do an accurate self-diagnosis.
Joe Ward Follow Me
If a medical professional told her there was a risk due to flying with that injury, she, like any of us who aren't medical professionals, are not in a position to reject that information. Joanne is describing a scenario that many people experience. I personally know of a man who experienced symptoms that would ultimately end up in cardiac arrest, and he was very reluctant to continue waiting since we've become accustomed to waiting so long that we're sometimes uncertain if we'll see a doctor at all, and we start second-guessing whether or not our concerns about our well being are "that" serious or not. That coerced self-doubt can lead us towards making decisions that put us at risk. I'm glad to see that Joanne sharing her story has resulted in a lot of interest, more discussion, and an opportunity for others to share their experiences.
Sally MacMaster Follow Me
See my above reply. Joe, any symptom can be a symptom of cardiac arrest, fainting, chest pain, arm pain, vomiting, shortness of breath, the list goes on. If they took in every person that reported shortness of breath, feeling faint, or vomiting with regular numbers before others, there would be even more people dying. And there’s no question whether or not we will get to see a doctor. We will see one eventually, what’s sad is that we may have to bring 3 meals and an overnight bag to hold us over until we do.
Joe Ward Follow Me
The heart specialist in Edmonton said that the condition should have been detected. However, you're cataloguing generic symptoms, without knowledge of what the individual was actually experiencing, the severity, number, or likelihood for doctors to determine what was happening. With that said, when people who have a very serious illness or a medical event impending, if they avoid emergency or leave after not being seen, that is a direct result of a system that can't keep up with demand, not people *guilty of lacking medical awareness of what's wrong with them or whether or not they are in danger*. The health authority has the responsibility of building a better system, not individual people seeking care. E.g. if non-emergency people show up at emergency during late hours of the evening, creating a situation of delay, then where are the late night walk-in clinics for non-emergency healthcare? Further, where are the walk-in clinics? How does the average person find one when they suddenly discover a need to seek medical attention?
Joanne Blair My Post Follow Me
Thank you John very well said as I was just trying to share about our health care system and ever situation is different for sure I’m not trying to upset others but unfortunately I did and I apologize it’s no matter where you live or what you do for a living everyone should have the best of treatment for health care as I would like to make a point of and yes I’m very aware that their were other people like seniors and small children that were very sick and that they should be looked after first for sure as you understand I just wanted to put my story out there and not to upset people or disrespect anyone what so ever thank you again joe jojo
Sally MacMaster Follow Me
Thank you for putting your story out there and being able to have a mature back and fourth unlike the vast majority of those on the internet, happy healing!
H MacNeil Follow Me
Let’s just accept the support of Joanne’s experience to seek help for this devastating crisis we are in, which scares me and should be scaring all.
Lynn Hussey Follow Me
Well, I Live here and had the same experience! Fell at the Chicago concert, Center 200..wrenched my ankle badly. Stopped at the Regional that night to have it seen, told I'd have a long wait. Left back the next day, same thing third day asked WHY so many who had come in after me were being seen ahead of me. I was told that 'You 'only' have an extremity injury' therefore, others will be seen ahead of you! THIS was after waiting for hours! Left after being told by the ER nurse it would be better to go directly to my Dr's office if possible. The Dr. was not impressed when she saw the condition of my ankle. Sent me with a requisition to have it X rayed. I spent Days in pain when all it would've taken was a quick x ray to diagnose. BUT since it was 'only an extremity' injury this is how you are treated. I ended up being seen by a specialist because of the injury and problems are ongoing. I'm Not impressed and hope I Never have to go back there again!
Trevor Lewis Follow Me
I read the article and a few of the points and counter points. A few things strike me on this one. First, wait times are a national epidemic, and the article presumes returning to Ontario was the magical elixir. Speaking from recent personal experience in Ontario a 6-8 hour wait in ER is common here as well. frustrating? Yes of course I didnt like it and always a direct reflection of emergencies that take priority. Such is the nature of triage and we have to choose reasonableness sometimes too. What if a loved one with a life threatening injury did not get priority because a women from Ontario wrenched her ankle? What would that letter campaign look like? Also, nobody wants to see people uncomfortable and unhappy especially hospital staff, however hospital staff are not obliged to offer anything more than advice or sympathy and are pressed, understaffed and cannot serve drinks. Also, honestly who benefits from skewering the clearly outnumbered and overworked staff. Nurses and admin staff want the best for you too and everyone understands shooting the messenger is wrong and potentially damaginf to their careers. Taper expectations. Reasonableness and responsibility for self must also prevail. Leaving ultimately was the woman’s own choice made by her only, making her only responsible for peril and injury resulting from flying or whatever other obstacles she may have encountered. No one disagrees health care in Cape Breton is struggling to say the least, however claiming negligence because one pays taxes and deserves more isn’t unique to traveling to Cape Breton. People ought not avoid tourism in Cape Breton for one perceived unique poor experience in a Cape Breton hospital. My opinion, prioritize your health and stay as long as it painstakingly long takes, and understand health care is public in Canada we wait in line and there are no VIPs in the waiting rooms as found in private health care models.
Mathew Georghiou Follow Me
Joanne Blair ... thank you for sharing your story. Ignore those who comment on your writing style or suggest that your injury is not worthy of complaint -- that's just foolishness. Change only happens when people, like you, have the courage to share their stories. Your courage has already motivated others to share their stories. This is what builds momentum and applies social pressure on the decision makers who have the power to make the changes needed to fix the problem. Regardless of the issue, the fact is that when people delay or give up seeking medical attention because of unreasonable wait times, it is a clear sign of serious problems today and in the future. Some medical conditions, if not treated promptly, can lead to longer-term issues. This impacts quality of life for the individual and their families ... and actually costs the healthcare system even more money in the long term. Unreasonable wait times are not acceptable. Suggestions that it's the same in other parts of Canada doesn't make it ok here or anywhere. Prompt and proper medical care should be our expectation as citizens. It should be considered a right, not a privilege. Our healthcare workers want to give us proper care, but the system they work in won't let them. The decision makers who control the system and are not willing to acknowledge or fix the problems should resign or be fired.
Trevor Lewis Follow Me
Good points all and agree we ought not cower to systemic downfalls, especially when it comes to health. This being said, playing the blame game and dragging staff through the mud isnt helpful. The option to be better was on the table, no one chose to leave but her despite what she perceived the crisis to be. Share responsibility and adding drama of never returning to a beautiful place for this was immature.
Joe Ward Follow Me
Trevor, on a daily basis, we have no idea how many people choose to leave, or how many people choose never to attempt to go because of delays. We also don't know how many people don't go because they hear people scold people who go to emergency for non-emergency issues, but then (i) don't have a doctor, (ii) can't get an appointment with a doctor, or (iii) don't make the local clinic, or (iv) get to the local clinic and there are already too many people there (cut-off). We also don't know how many are rushed through because of exhausted doctors on staff, mentally and physically drained, who know that there is an ER of others waiting and more soon to come... or due to an unavailability of equipment (e.g. cardiac monitoring devices)... leading to them shuttling people through quicker than they would want to do so - as medical professionals - or missing a symptom and underdiagnosing. We have multiple doctors speaking out about these conditions. It's not just the people in need of healthcare. People make mistakes. Staff in good management and resource situations make mistakes, and they most certainly make mistakes in environments like the mismanagement of our healthcare system has created. Ultimately, the fault lies with the bureaucrats. As the system breaks down or degrades in service delivery, the fault lies with those at the top. But we have a real person here, describing a real experience. She's not a political blogger or analyst. She's a person who had a concerning experience, and in the wave of news coming about the failings of healthcare, she shared her story, described what happened, and how she felt about it - from the perspective of a real person navigating our healthcare system.
Mathew Georghiou Follow Me
I don't see Joanne's post as putting blame on the healthcare workers. She is simply sharing her experience and describing what actually happened, just as Joe W explains in his comment. Joanne was treated poorly ... NOT by the HEALTHCARE WORKERS, but by the SYSTEM in which they are all working under. Many Cape Bretoners have had the exact same experience and can immediately empathize. It has become obvious over the years ... and this is not a problem that just appeared recently ... that those who have the power to fix the system do not have such empathy, or if they do, they don't know how to fix the problem, and so, in my opinion, should resign or be fired to make way for those who can. PS: Joanne saying she will not visit Cape Breton in the future because of our poor healthcare system is quite valid and useful feedback for those who promote Cape Breton as a travel and lifestyle destination. Access to healthcare while traveling (or in retirement) is a significant decision point for many people. There is an entire industry that sells travel insurance specifically for this purpose. But, even travel insurance is useless if you can't access proper care when you need it. If the people of Cape Breton are suffering because of poor healthcare, and now the economy is going to suffer further by losing economic opportunity, then that further demonstrates that this is a crisis situation on multiple levels.
Trevor Lewis Follow Me
No actually disagree whole heartedly, the system failed her (as well as Capers) but her focus isn't the system its the people the people were to blame for not going the extra mile to make it faster/more comfortable for her which is why she called them out unfairly. She shot the messenger, and new ideas are required and threatening to fire everyone is a circular debate and cop out for lack of ideas. Capers feel helpless and for that the elected representatives own blame for lack of consultation and ideation. Once again fear mongering fro travel to Cape Breton is an antiquated view, and I will forever stand by my guns that leaving and casting blame later for what could have happened to her health later in on her, not nurses.
Mathew Georghiou Follow Me
It seems Trevor and I will have to agree to disagree on the essence of Joanne's story. But, regarding ideas and firings as a "cop out for lack of new ideas" ... There are all sorts of well-qualified people who have been offering ideas, for years, on how to fix the system, but they are ignored. Citizens like us posting ideas online is not going to change anything at this point. But, citizens sharing real stories of the failing system has a chance of doing so because it contradicts those who suggest that everything is ok ... or that everything will be ok at some point in the future. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. And, while our elected representatives (of all parties) share much of the blame, it is the entrenched bureaucrats that actually run the system and can be more powerful than elected representatives. If such people were shamed, fired, or forced to resign for poor performance, we would have a much more efficient government. Nova Scotia tends to recycle the same old faceless problem makers and applies no accountability internally.
Lynn Hussey Follow Me
Excellent points there Matthew..it could actually be an advantage for CB if the travel industry made it known they aren't happy with the 'health crisis' here in CB. Just 'maybe they could help in us being heard. We NEED the tourist industry and can't afford to lose it over poor health care.
Joe Ward Follow Me
Good point, and it goes much further. Families will leave, especially if anyone in the household has a serious ongoing medical concern. People who would consider retiring here will reconsider that option. People who are here and planning to stay may reconsider whether or not it's really in their best interest to stay, given that the necessity of healthcare naturally increases with age. If someone in Cape Breton asks: "What should I do to ensure my chronic health issues are taken care of?", who among us could, with any modicum of sincerity or good conscience recommend they stay in Cape Breton? My mom is 65. If something happens to her right now, would there be an ambulance available? If there was, how long would she be stuck inside it before seeing a doctor? Would she see the doctor in a closet or bathroom turned into an evaluation room? And would she spend the night in a busy hallway because there are not rooms available? All of those things are not only possible but quite common. Certainly none of us would want ourselves, our friends, our family, or any other human being having to endure that.
Trevor Lewis Follow Me
Good points and sadly I wont be rushing to retire in CB as access to health care is certainly an issue. Obviously resources are dwindling at a time when the aged population is at its highest, With youth leaving and not returning, the cynical side of me thinks infrastructure money is being withheld to wait out the issue, after all the need will be far less in 10, 15 and 20 years as the baby boom bulge expires, Sad and true. More to the point, more has to be done to attract talent and stop the brain drain as well. Honestly, Sydney hospital notwithstanding I wouldn't retire there for the water quality alone. Separate issue I understand however linked. With the high incidence of cancer and autoimmune disease in the area simply not enough due diligence was undertaken to address the environmental damage sustained by the tar ponds. Swept under the rug and deemed over and fixed is the fallacy. Just because it cant be seen or smelled doesn't mean the island isn't still toxic, as the plant, animals and humans continue to survive on a heavily polluted water table. Who wants to put themselves in harms way and be in the direct line of fire of the single largest environmental disaster in Canada. I visited and didn't go within 10 feet of a water tap. No thank you! Good debate here glad we could agree and agree to disagree and perpetuate criticism for the decline of the status quo.
Bill Fiander Follow Me
Am I missing something? Our water is also bad and toxic? Can you quote some sources?
Trevor Lewis Follow Me
No not missing anything merely postulating. No empirical evidence but then again who does support claims here. My opinion take it or leave it, however would it not be naïve to believe there were not repercussions on the environment after heavily polluting the island (not just Whitney Pier) from the dawn of the industrial revolution to yesterday? After all isn't it the same bureaucrats that everyone loves to hate here who claim we're all good, nothing to see here go about your day, business as usual here. Just saying I wouldn't touch it but that's me.
Bill Fiander Follow Me
This is no doubt a spot for dialogue, and I'm glad you made the added stipulation of it being your opinion. If the water is a danger in this area and is a cause for health troubles I think most people who 'live' here would want to know. If it's just a subjective conjecture, than it can be dismissed. Personally I've had my home tap water tested and it was found to be fine. I like the empirical stuff.
Trevor Lewis Follow Me
Agreed and very much subjective. Everyone absolutely has their own barometer for comfort. I am sure water testing happens regularly (hopefully) and know if I was there I too would be testing my own tap on the regular. To the point of this article though, who has the appetite and resources to test water in retirement. I would argue, once again my opinion, the number of people not doing so is outnumbered by those who do.
Bill Fiander Follow Me
Water testing in the CBRM is free of charge.
Joanne Blair My Post Follow Me
Wow what a great point there is no right and wrong it is a debate so thank you Trevor jojo
Joe Ward Follow Me
"Unreasonable wait times are not acceptable. Suggestions that it's the same in other parts of Canada doesn't make it ok here or anywhere." The above is an absolutely fundamental point. Since when have we joined the race-to-the-bottom that is represented by setting our expectations on being close to as bad as everywhere else, or really bad but not quite as bad as somewhere else? Our targets need to be focused on who is doing better, and what aspects of their approach we are able to adopt. And, if nobody else is doing better, then we need to figure it out ourselves. Only the bottom of the barrel bureaucrats would justify their bad outcomes by citing how we share failure with other regions. I understand the value of knowing the baseline, and where we sit relative to it. But that is never an excuse to give up and do nothing about it. The amazing progress the world has made would never be possible if everyone had such a settle-for-it, defeatist attitude. We can fix this.
Trevor Lewis Follow Me
And once again agreed no one is arguing the system is flawed and unacceptable. And also agreed settling for mediocrity is an epidemic and a new normal for less is driving the bureaucratic agenda, however Joanne's post was a specific indictment of Cape Breton and its front line staff which I view as unfair. Also, I will never accept that leaving and potentially placing herself in further peril was anyone's fault but her own. I am not an unfeeling monster but throwing Cape Breton as a destination under the bus for all of time isn't acceptable, nor is a shot across the bow to stressed nurses. Further, the implication that she returned to Ontario and everything was hunky dory simply isn't true. What Ontario, and prairie communities are doing though is giving priority and funding to local kids for medical and veterinary schools with a caveat to spend 3-4 years in their remote area and not run to the cities with their cohort. Youth bring enthusiasm and ideas! Lets talk solutions and stop complaining clearly there's enough of that.
Lynn Hussey Follow Me
I agree it's not a reason to throw CB under the bus as a future destination..that's apples and oranges to me. I also agree it's not right to slam emergency nurses/workers ..they are doing the best they can with the system that is in place. All that being said, it's frustrating for a 'patient' to sit for hours on end and still not be seen. Some patients ARE unreasonable but others, sit for Hours on end without a complaint..there has to be a better way to do this. It must makes a bad situation worse. Kudos to all those on the front line doing the best they can, it's appreciated.
Joanne Blair My Post Follow Me
Hello joe it’s me jojo wanted to say what a way to get tge point across and if everyone in the government would do their part we all wouldn’t be having these kinds of debates the unfortunate thing about all this is seniors that raised their family’s and their families are keeping the next generation down there here because that’s their home and they don’t want them heir kids leaving and going to another province o get healthcare or clean up after that’s a sad moment for me in Nova Scotia my mom was born and Raised in Truro I feel a little heart broken because the government won’t do anything to keep their families there and do the healthcare what they deserve and each and every little part of Nova Scotia I feel is dying and that makes me sad the government needs to step in now not 6 months from now not a year from now but righ now I always call Nova Scotia my home and I have been coming down every year I hate to see it turn into a ghost town jojo
Bill Fiander Follow Me
I remember at one time we had an abundance of Doctors. If I didnt' like my doctor there were other doctors that I could go to very easily. Now you're lucky if you have a doctor, period. So what happened between 1988 and now? Dr Rogers gave us a nostalgic look into the way things were: https://www.capebretonpost.com/opinion/letter-to-the-editor/letter-glace-bays-medical-care-program-in-1989-revisited-232408/
Lynn Hussey Follow Me
AND we had a larger population Then Bill ~ what happened indeed...
Joanne Blair My Post Follow Me
The government fell asleep lol lol lol
H MacNeil Follow Me
I think the point of Joanne’s comment was for support, we here are in a crisis it happened and she shared it kudos Joanne please accept her support and let’s stop beating up on her. However accurate she may or may not be, this was her experience as described by her. Thanks Joanne for your support 😊
Joanne Blair My Post Follow Me
I hank you very much for standing up for me as I was responding to you he news peice so thank you and have a great weekend jojo

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