A Trout River woman who spent more than eight days in the emergency room overflow at Western Memorial Regional Hospital says there isn’t a lack of beds at the hospital, but rather a lack of staff.
Edna Sheppard, 89, is the second person to speak out recently about conditions at the hospital. On Monday, Sheppard was waiting at her brother’s house in Summerside to get a bus back home to Trout River.
She was first brought to Western Memorial on Jan. 19, and admitted with a lung infection. She was discharged the next day and went to her brother’s home, but on Tuesday had to be taken back to the hospital by ambulance.
Once again she was admitted, but, with no available beds, was placed in the overflow area of the ER.
“I can’t tell you what I first thought of it because I was too sick,” she said, adding that as she began to come around, she was unhappy with where she was.
With a history of angina and a pacemaker, Sheppard says she should have been sent to the cardiac floor.
“Oh my dear, it was horrible. Horrible, horrible.”
Just as Marketa Neilson reported in Monday’s Western Star, Sheppard said there were 10 people in the area with only curtains separating them. She said there was no privacy, only one washroom and nowhere to shower.
Sheppard also found the room cold and kept her coat on the first night and slept in her day clothes another two nights.
Having no access to a phone was the worst of all, she said.
“No one knew if you were dead or alive unless they come in.”
While her son dropped by to check on her often, Sheppard didn’t want him staying long.
“So I battled it out alone.”
Last Thursday, Sheppard was transferred out of the ER overflow area to a room on the second floor with three other people. She was discharged Friday.
While in the overflow area, Sheppard had heard there was a lack of beds and even sent her son to check it out. She said he found one empty bed on one ward and four on another.
So she thinks the problem is not a lack of beds.
“The problem is they haven’t got the staff to put there,” she said. “I think they need a lot more staff. Because the poor little things they got there, I don’t know how they’re surviving. They’re worked and reworked.
“I can’t blame it on the staff. They were extremely good. But I do blame it on the management.”
The Western Star