Nova Scotia

Halifax hospital's 'bad' conditions upset cancer patient

A cancer patient is speaking out about the conditions of an ailing Halifax hospital, comparing them to a third-world country.

Centennial Building ‘isn't an ideal place,’ says Capital Health

A cancer patient is speaking out about the conditions of an ailing Halifax hospital, comparing them to a third-world country.

Cynthia O'Connell, 49, had surgery to remove a 23-pound malignant tumour at the centennial building last week. (CBC)

Cynthia O'Connell, 49, underwent surgery to remove a 23-pound malignant tumour last week. She was placed in the palliative care ward of the Victoria General hospital's Centennial Building.

“I think it’s really bad," said O'Connell, breaking into tears. "It’s really bad to be living in Canada and to know that’s how we treat people when they have cancer."

“There were signs posted in every bathroom, at every sink, not only saying you couldn’t' drink the water but you couldn't brush your teeth with the water. You couldn't bathe with the water.”

She said since the place is where people go to die, the state of the hospital is not high on the patients' priority list.

“I felt because I was the youngest, I wanted to come forward and speak out for those that can't.”

Capital Health aware of complaints

Capital District Health Authority spokesman John Gillis said the water has been an ongoing problem since the 1980s.

The Centennial Building — part of the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre's Victoria General site — has a number of problems, including leaks and water quality issues. (CBC)

O’Connell, a former hospitality industry consultant, said hospitals in developing countries are better equipped. She said rooms on her ward were either unbearably hot or cold, the window by her bed leaked and there were flies.

She also said the food was terrible and questions the cleanliness of the ward.

Gillis acknowledges there are complaints about the almost 50-year-old building

“We know that physically this isn't an ideal place to provide care to patients or to work,” he said.

The health authority said it has a plan to demolish the Centennial Building but it first wants to add floors to other hospitals.

That’s expected to take five to 10 years.


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