10 days ago my dad fell coming out of the grocery store where he bought lottery tickets and newspapers for the crossword puzzle. An ambulance was called, he was taken to ER, and his injuries were determined. Fractured ribs, clavicle and left hip.
It was determined that he needed surgery, so was transferred from Williams Lake to Kamloops to see orthopedic surgeon.
However because of Covid 19 there was no family members there and when I was phoned, there was no mention of WHERE he had fallen. My sister went to his house after this and realized that he car was not there, and so a search ensued to find his vehicle, and it was only then that we found out where this had happened and what exactly had happened.
He was received in Kamloops and prepared for surgery. But because of Covid no family members were there to tell them that he has COPD, and kidney disease, and what his medications were. (we could only phone in and get snippets of information.)
His surgery was delayed because a clever anaesthetist noticed that his potassium was high and so the kidney specialists gave him treatment to lower his potassium. I was able to talk to a family practice resident… I guess at this point I thought that they knew his history and no one asked.
He went for surgery, and because of covid he was all alone, none of his family were there. He came back from surgery and because of covid none of his family were there to be there when he woke up…. or tell them that he is quite sensitive to narcotics, even as a younger man, they made him wingy.
ALL day Long I made calls to find out how he was doing and my sister called in once and the nurse said that what was going on with him was normal for dementia patients. I guess because of Covid 19 we were unable to tell them that he HAD been out in his vehicle a few days earlier getting lottery tickets on his own.
Then it was back to the phone for me to make sure that they knew that he was not that demented before. He had been slowing down recently and I am sure he memory was failing, but they were thinking he was normally like this, because of covid, and because no one was there to say otherwise.
I guess there is no point in going into the whole story, sufficient to say that because of covid he was all alone.
I was able to use my position to get into see my Dad on Wednesday. Had to go past the gestapo at the front door. Wore my hospital badge and said it was all approved.
THEN I was able to speak for my Dad.
He went downhill quite a bit and so yesterday, I was able to get permission for my sister and myself to visit him. (they told us we had to visit separately but we ignored that)
We sat there for the afternoon with him, and reminded him frequently that we were there and that he had 4 daughters who loved him. Not sure if he heard.
And then he died. He was not alone, and we felt that although we had missed all the previous times to be there (because of Covid) At least we were there at the end.
Covid 19 has been an earth shattering disease. I am frequently surprised by how every aspect of life seems to have changed somewhat due to Covid, but in the area we live in Interior Health Authority, which is a large part of BC, I am guessing at least a million and a half people, we have absolutely no active Covid cases. In medicine we always weigh treatments, Risks VS benefits. I currently wonder if the covid restrictions right now are causing more harm than good. We have another rule in medicine “above all do no harm” Although it is not part of hippocrates oath, it is attributed to him.
The premise is it may be better to NOT do something or to do nothing at all at the risk of causing more harm than good.
Although I was an early voice to add protection to LTC facilities and the elderly in the coming of COVID, speaking out loudly in early March. I was all for screening all visitors for symptoms and travel history, the concept of stopping all visitors to hospitals and LTC facilities, I BELIEVE is a case where we are causing harm by our action.
I hope it changes soon.
Much love to all