The Vancouver Island Health Authority (Island Health) board of directors will hear several presentations today from north Island residents.

By holding its March 29th meeting in Courtenay, the board has given local residents an opportunity to voice their many concerns, which this website first brought to the public’s attention in a series of articles in January.

The board’s published agenda states that 60 minutes have been set aside for public presentations, but does not specify which community applications to make a presentation have been accepted.

But we can speculate.

The board is likely to hear about the lack of long-term care beds in the Comox Valley, problems caused by overcapacity at both the Courtenay and Campbell River hospitals, long waits in the emergency department and perhaps even a plea to reactivate portions of the now-closed St. Joseph’s General Hospital to mitigate some of these issues.

Some residents may express concern about the consequences of how poorly Island Health planned their new hospitals and have neglected regional senior care services.

We may even hear a plea from the Equal Access Comox Valley group to deny The Views at St. Joseph’s any of the proposed 120 new long-term care beds — perhaps any public funding at all — because the religious-based facility does not allow Medical Assistance in Dying on its property.

FURTHER READING: No MAiD, No Contract!; Decafnation’s hospital series

Concerned citizens should not expect that board members or executives will respond to public questions or presentations at this meeting, at least in any meaningful way. Precedent indicates that if the board responds at all, it will be through written statements or private meetings.

Nearly three months after Decafnation exposed that hospital planning failures have lead to staff shortages and other problems causing low staff morale at the Comox Valley Hospital, nothing has been done to address the issues.

Frontline workers have received no acknowledgement of the problems they face or asked their input on how to resolve issues, including hospital design flaws and inefficient Island Health procedures, that have left them overworked and frustrated.

The response from hospital management and Island Health executives has been that these problems are “normal,” and will work themselves out over time.

Meanwhile, the CVH reached a new record high in overcapacity last Friday with 178 admitted patients.

That’s 49 more patients than the 129 opened beds for which the hospital is budgeted and staffed. And it’s 25 more patients than expected by 2025, when hospital planners expected CVH to reach maximum capacity of 153 admitted patients.

Emergency room staff — where reports of wait times have stretched up to eight hours — are often on the front line of some of these problems.

One Decafnation reader wrote that the experience of her husband at CVH “was appalling, total ignorance of his recent heart surgery.”

The man had a heart attack and was treated well at CVH initially, and at Royal Jubilee Hospital where he had five-vessel bypass surgery.

But when he started bleeding into the bowel from Equis after his return home and went to the CVH emergency, he waited five hours to see a physician, and then kept on a stretcher (cubicle with a curtain) in the day surgery area for eight days with no shower and forced to use a commode.

Then he was transferred to the emergency overflow area and provided with a bed, but no shower, and discharged two days later.

“Sleeping on a stretcher, not being able to shower for 10 days and having to use a commode is not acceptable care,” said our reader.

The Island Health board meeting is open to the public. It starts at 1.30 p.m. in the Crown Isle Resort ballroom located on ClubHouse Drive.


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