British Columbia

96-year-old with broken pelvis stuck in Abbotsford hospital hallway

Dale Regehr says Abbotsford Regional Hospital looks like a "war zone" inside and is worried his grandma, Eva, is suffering more than she should after being housed in a drafty hallway.

Dale Regehr says his grandmother's feet keep getting hit by people, causing additional pain

A Fraser Valley man is appalled at the treatment his 96-year-old grandmother is getting at Abbotsford Regional Hospital emergency where she was brought after suffering multiple pelvic fractures in a fall on Monday.

Speaking Thursday, Dale Regehr said, since arriving, his grandma, Eva, has been stuck in a bed in a drafty hallway near the emergency room doors along with three other patients. 

"She keeps getting hit in her feet. She's got a broken pelvis and she's in a lot of pain," said Regehr. "They don't have enough room to turn the stretchers. They're hitting her. The staff are hitting her." 

"For someone 96, one of the major risks is pneumonia, being at the door and having the cold air come in on her, its a very dangerous spot."

Dale Regehr is appalled that his 96-year-old grandmother is being housed in a hallway at Abbotsford Regional Hospital. (GP Mendoza/CBC)

Abbotsford Regional Hospital has the dubious distinction as being one of the most overcrowded in the province. Regehr says inside, it looks like a "war zone."

"The [patients] are lining the hallways. People are in beds in front of the doors. They're in front of the counters where the staff are working," said Regehr.

Over 77,000 patients were treated in the emergency room in 2018-2019 — a 13 per cent increase compared to five years earlier. 

'Exceptional' staff

Regehr said the staff at the hospital have been "exceptional" and doesn't blame them for his grandmother's plight. 

"They're doing the best they can. The environment is just so difficult for the nurses. I feel bad for them," he said.

B.C. Nurses Union president Christine Sorensen says the kind of overcrowding seen at Abbotsford hospital puts everyone at risk.

"When you have patients in the hallway, there is a higher risk of communicable disease and exposure," said Sorensen. "There's the risk of trips and falls and injuries."

The provincial government announced a $16.2 million dollar upgrade of the hospital's emergency room last fall.

The 825-square-metre expansion will add new trauma bays and 12 additional patient exam rooms, as well as renovations to the current ambulance bays and triage area. 

Construction is expected to be completed by the summer of 2021.

Regehr says he's spending as much time as possible with his grandmother, trying to provide comfort and to remind her that the situation is only temporary. 

"My grandma is someone who has worked hard her whole life. Now, when she needs the medical system, it's not here for her."

With files GP Mendoza