Urine and feces mess at RUH was 'horrific', retired nurse says

A retired nurse says she encountered "horrific" filth at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon during stays there as a patient in 2012 and this September.

During two visits to Saskatoon hospital, nurse encountered unsanitary conditions

A retired nurse says she encountered "horrific" filth at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon, during stays there as a patient in 2012 and again this September.

"My bathroom had excrement on the wall," Suzanne Stewart said in a letter she wrote to the government following surgery in the summer of 2012. "The whole time I was there it was never cleaned."

Stewart's letter, with some portions redacted, was released Wednesday by the Opposition NDP who cited the woman's experience as an example of mismanagement of health care by the government.

"What I observed in the following two weeks ... was horrific," Stewart said, in describing a portion of her 2012 stay in an acute care ward. She said found urine "all over the wall and seat of the toilet."

On Wednesday, Stewart pointed out that she had been in the same hospital again, in September, and things had not improved. During her recovery, she said, she happened to vomit and it remained on the floor beside her bed for several days.

Doesn't blame staff

Stewart, who was a nurse for 36 years, said she doesn't blame the workers because there's a staff shortage.

She said the next time she is in hospital she will be relying on friends and family to assist with keeping her area clean.

Stewart added she was surprised that sanitary conditions were not more of a priority.

"Obviously, the bottom line here is financial," she wrote. "But explain to me why general basic things like cleanliness and safety cannot be met."

"The patient should be the primary reason for our health care system," she continued. "E coli, Norovirus, salmonella, SARS outbreaks, and the list could go on. I am very surprised this hasn't happened yet."

NDP leader Cam Broten raised Stewart's concerns Wednesday at the Legislature.

"When there aren't enough staff to clean bathrooms properly that's not acceptable because this is about patients," Broten said. "And for families to clean the room and bathroom is unacceptable."

Dustin Duncan, the health minister, said the Saskatoon Health Region has made several changes to improve its cleaning regimes, including moving part-time housekeepers to full-time and hiring a new manager to focus on housekeeping.


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