Leukemia patient spends 2 days on ER stretcher

A St. John's woman is appalled that her leukemia-struck husband spent more than two days on a stretcher in the Health Sciences Centre, even though his immune system has been wiped out.
Joan Sears says her husband, ill with leukemia , spent more than two days on a stretcher in HSC ER. He has since been moved to a room 3:02

A St. John's woman is appalled that her husband, who has leukemia, spent more than two days on a stretcher in the Health Sciences Centre, even though his immune system has been wiped out.

"This is a life-threatening situation for him," said Joan Sears, who says desperation prompted her to speak publicly about husband Keith Perry's condition.

"If he gets a bug that they can't fix with antibiotics, because he has been in emergency so long … who's responsible for that?" she said.

On Thursday evening, about an hour after CBC News contacted Eastern Health for comment, Perry was placed in a private room.

The authority said it cannot speak about individual cases, but an official said the number of patients requiring admission in recent days has increased.

Perry, who is undergoing chemotherapy, went to the hospital on Tuesday when he got a fever.

Because of his treatments, Perry's immune system is severely weakened.

Even so, Sears said she was shocked that her husband was kept waiting for more than two days on a stretcher, potentially exposed to all sorts of infectious persons.

Sears said ER staff told her that their hands were tied in obtaining a bed for him, and that she learned beds were being closed in the hospital.

'He's getting desperate'

Sears said she felt she had to speak out publicly because she did not know where else to turn, and that the wait took a toll on her husband.

"He's gotten to a point that he just wants to leave, but that would mean the end of his treatment," she said, crying.

"He's getting desperate, as we both are."

On Thursday night, Sears — who had taken to Twitter to detail her encounters with the health-care system — tweeted a note of thanks to "friends, family, media and MHAs who pushed today and got the room my husband needed at the hospital."


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