90-year-old patient receives apology for late night discharge
Vivian Fitzpatrick, who is legally blind, says she was 'stunned' to be sent home in a taxi
The Fraser Health Authority has apologized for sending a 90-year-old blind woman home in the middle of the night from Delta Hospital, wrapped in a bed sheet, dressed in pyjamas and slippers, and bleeding from blood tests.
The authority released a statement saying they have already apologized to the family of Vivian Fitzpatrick.
The authority had originally declined repeated requests for an on-camera interview with CBC News. But late Thursday afternoon, Fraser Health spokeswoman Tasleem Juma agreed to speak.
"Did something go wrong? How can we ensure that this future negative experience doesn't occur again?- Fraser Health Authority spokeswoman Tasleem Juma
"Its really upsetting to hear they have had such a negative experience at one of our hospitals. We really apologize for the fact that they've had such a negative experience," she said.
"We are really committed to working with them through our patient care quality office to see how can we do things better, Did something go wrong? How can we ensure that this future negative experience doesn't occur again?"
B.C. Premier Christy Clark, who is in Washington, D.C., today said she was concerned about the news.
"Of course I'm concerned. They've apologized as they should have because that's just not the right way to treat people," said Clark.
"People deserve to be treated better than that. So I know health authorities are dealing with it and I'm confident they will."
B.C. NDP leader Adrian Dix called for further action to be taken.
"A review is required, not to seek out somebody who did something wrong, but to ensure proper procedures are followed next time," he said.
Wrapped in sheet and sent home
Fitzpatrick, who is legally blind, was taken to Delta Hospital, located south of Vancouver, by an ambulance at 10:30 p.m. PT Tuesday night after she felt an intense pain in her leg, which turned out to be a case of high blood pressure.
After she was cleared by a doctor, an unknown nurse came into her room and told her she was going home, Fitzpatrick said.
"The nurse came in and said 'the doctor says you can go home, there's nothing wrong with you,'" she told CBC News.
Despite Fitzpatrick pointing out she wasn't dressed, the nurse told her they had ordered her a taxi and were sending her home.
"I was kind of stunned," she said.
The nurse then wrapped her in a single sheet, gave her socks for her bare feet, and moved her into the emergency waiting room until the taxi arrived nearly an hour later at 2:30 a.m. PT.
When the taxi arrived, the driver walked her across the parking lot in a wheelchair in the pouring rain and wind, she said.
After arriving home, Fitzpatrick was greeted by her live-in caregiver, who noticed that her arm was bleeding considerably from her earlier blood tests.
"She took off my jacket, and my jacket was soaked right through with blood ... not my jacket, my pyjamas top and the sheet around me was soaked in blood," Fitzpatrick said.
Fitzpatrick's daughter, Paddy Munro, is disturbed by the incident.
"How can that happen? A 90-year-old woman sent out in the pouring rain in pyjamas and shivering in a waiting room by herself," she said.
"How can that happen?"
Fraser Health said in a written statement that it cannot comment on the specifics of the case, but that sometimes patients are sent home by taxi and it ensures patients are met by a caregiver when they arrive home.
"We are working with the family through the Patient Care and Quality Office to ensure this type of situation does not occur again," the statement said.
Fitzpatrick is still shaken by her experience.
"I don't want to go to that hospital again, I'm so upset," she said.