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Letter to the editor: Amazing frontline health care workers saved my life

As I drifted in and out of consciousness, I witnessed the amazing work of these professionals.
University Hospital of Northern B.C.

On August 9 at 1:10 p.m., I was stung by a wasp. 

The Epi Pen was administered and off to UHNBC’s emergency room I went.  We thought driving would be faster than waiting for an ambulance and feared delay due to three railway tracks; a consideration when time is of the essence.  We arrived at 1:45 p.m.  Three ambulances were parked in front; I was glad we drove. When I tried to enter, a security officer informed me ER was full and I would have to wait outside.  

I caught the attention of an ambulance attendant. I told her I was going into shock. She asked pertinent questions as I slid to the floor; she hollered out “anaphylactic shock” which created action. Within seconds, the doctor and nurses were minimizing the shock to my system.  As I drifted in and out of consciousness, I witnessed the amazing work of these professionals as they dealt with overdose, mental health patients, and a prisoner in handcuffs strolling about, while followed by a corrections officer.  In my confused state, I wondered what planet did I just land on?  The ER.was filled with loud voices, machines, and everyone was working in an extremely fast pace.

At 5:30 p.m., I was discharged. The nurse unhooking the monitors stated she was not an ER nurse, rather she was recruited from another department due to short staffing issue. The understaffing situation within our health care is no secret; we hear it all the time on the news, and we talk about it with friends and relatives.  Until we are forced to experience it firsthand, the magnitude of this crisis is not even imaginable.

My time in ER ended well, but what these health care workers deal with each day is not acceptable.  Our government must do better to help train, recruit, and retain health care professionals. The courts are moving towards specialized courts to deal with specific cases, maybe our ER should have specialized units: IE drug related, mental health, and physical health. The system needs to ask the health care and frontline emergency workers what is needed, listen to their recommendations, and then act. These professionals need all of our support.

For today, I can only publicly thank the doctor and ER workers for the swift and quality care provided me on August 9.

Verna Blinn

Prince George

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