Calgary man caught in health care crunch
Published Wednesday, November 13, 2013 5:42PM MST Last Updated Wednesday, November 13, 2013 6:18PM MST
A Calgary man is back home and awaiting surgery at a local hospital after spending several days in limbo at a central Alberta hospital.
Leon LeGrand lives in Calgary but was working in Red Deer when he fell on the job site and shattered the bones in his feet.
LeGrand was rushed to Red Deer Regional Hospital and had emergency surgery that night.
He was told he would need more surgery and then spent five days in a row on an on-call list for surgery.
“I had to fast each day. From midnight on I couldn’t take water or food orally and the first couple of days I wasn’t able to take my pain meds, the pills, I had intravenous as well but they were bolstering it with oral medication and I wasn’t allowed to take those so that made the days pretty long,” said LeGrand.
He says he would wait all day for an opening and then would be told about 8:00 p.m. that he was cancelled. “Fortunately Sarah had come up with food for me but they had left over plates of hospital food for me, if that was the case, and then come 8:00 I could eat and drink and then midnight back at it again.”
LeGrand was worried the cycle could go on indefinitely so his wife Sarah stepped in.
She asked for him to be transferred to Calgary repeatedly and says she finally got movement when she became her husband’s advocate.
“I got on the phone found a bed and a unit that could take him, found a doctor that could do the surgery then handed all of that information to his doctors and finally that got the ball rolling,” said Sarah Secreto, LeGrand’s wife.
Sarah and Leon say staff at Red Deer’s hospital were excellent but their hands were tied too as trauma cases must take priority,
They say they are worried about the state of Alberta’s health care system when two fractured feet is considered a non-emergency.
The story caught the attention of the opposition’s Heather Forsyth.
The Wild Rose Health Critic says she hears from doctors weekly who are angry about surgical waits and says it's an unfortunate example of a broken health care system.
“I've talked to many of them who are frustrated because there is not enough ORs and OR time and space and then there is this domino effect. Put the money into the front lines. There is layer upon layer of bureaucracy,” said Forsyth.
Alberta Health Services says Red Deer has eight operating theatres and that one is dedicated to emergency surgeries.
AHS issued a statement saying:
"Patients should rest assured that if they need emergency surgery, they will receive it immediately. However, they should also be aware that if a higher priority case presents, then it must take precedence. The surgical wait list changes constantly."
LeGrand is still waiting for surgery which will likely happen this weekend once surgeons have consulted on the best plan for his case.
He says waiting with the right pain medication and a plan in place is a lot easier and less painful than waiting with no answers.
(With files from Elissa Carpenter)