Manitoba

Patient released from Winnipeg hospital suffers stroke

A Winnipeg man's ordeal after undergoing brain surgery is raising questions about discharge policies for patients who undergo major procedures at the city's largest hospital.

HSC plans to retrain staff on discharge policy

Monty Vann suffered a stroke after being discharged from the Health Sciences Centre five days after undergoing brain surgery. ((CBC))
A Winnipeg man's ordeal after undergoing brain surgery is raising questions about discharge policies for patients who undergo major procedures at the city's largest hospital.

Monty Vann, 60, had a brain tumour surgically removed at the Health Sciences Centre (HSC) on Oct. 8.

The surgery was considered high-risk because Vann, who is blind, also suffered from heart problems.

Vann's family told CBC News that on Oct. 10, after less than two days of recuperating from the successful surgery, the hospital issued a discharge order.

Relatives said Vann was still bleeding behind one ear and had about 60 staples in his head.

After three more days of battling with the hospital over wanting to stay to recuperate further, Vann agreed to leave and was discharged the morning of Oct. 13.

Administrators at HSC said he was "medically stable" when he was released.

But Vann had a stroke in his brother's car while on the way home.

He returned to HSC and has been there ever since. His family said he's now paralyzed on one side of his body, unable to speak and is unresponsive.

Monty Vann's brother, Mark Vann, said his brother was harrassed to leave the hospital after having brain surgery. ((CBC))
Vann documented his fears about being prematurely discharged in a handwritten note dated two days before he left the hospital. 

Among his written reasons for wanting to remain in care were: "The surgeon said I may not survive the surgery … I have heart problems … no stabilized blood chemistry," which meant he wasn't back on his heart medication.

It's not known if any HSC staff ever saw the note.

Vann's family is accusing the HSC of badgering him to leave, and said he was told he'd have to pay for his continued hospital care out of his own pocket if he didn’t leave by the discharge day of Oct. 10. 

"I think it became a pissing contest between the resident [doctor] and my brother," Mark Vann said.

"They threatened to bring an accountant down. His anxiety was through the roof.

"This is a guy with a heart problem, who is blind and has his head held together with staples," he added. "He dared to challenge the authority of the hospital and that’s when it got ugly."

Apology issued

Adam Topp, the HSC's chief operating officer, said the hospital has apologized to Vann's family. ((CBC))
Adam Topp, HSC's chief operating officer, said he has apologized to Vann's family and admits the hospital handled the case badly.

"The patient felt harassed. Having one of our patients feel that way is not right," Topp said.

"That is not what we are going for. That clearly happened in this situation and we've apologized for that."

Topp said staff at HSC are being retrained on the hospital's discharge policy.

Vann's family said they want him to receive rehabilitation and speech therapy.