Thanks For BC’s Great Health Care

December 23, 2010

For a guy with COPD like me, winter can be like crossing a frozen lake; most of the time it is perfectly OK, but sometimes thin ice in the shape of heavy cold can send you plunging into the depths.  So it was this last weekend as a cold developed into a chest infection and I was suddenly in serious trouble.

I spent the last four nights in St Paul’s Hospital — and I have the bruises and puncture wounds all over my hands and arms to prove it!

Now, I don’t tell you this to garner sympathy — although get well cards including suitable financial tokens would of course be welcomed.  No, I write this as an excuse to once again praise the extraordinarily fine medical system we have in Vancouver.

My wife called 911 at about 3:30am and within five minutes we had half a dozen eager and thoroughly professional responders in the house, along with enough equipment to support a man on the moon.  They did everything possible to make me comfortable, keep me and my wife calm, and deal with all the consequences of restricted breathing.  They were all magnificent.

With 30 minutes I was downtown in St Paul’s trauma unit and in the hands of an equally proficient and pleasant suite of emergency doctors, nurses and technicians.  Once again they did all they could to stabilize and improve my medical condition; and, like the EMS folks before them, answered every question clearly and immediately.  It is this interaction with patients on a human level — and which continued throughout my stay on the ward — that I really appreciate.  It is so widespread throughout the Vancouver hospital system that it must be an integral part of their training — and it is wonderful.

This emergency is the first I have suffered since 2004, but in the early years of the decade I was in and out of St Paul’s and VGH on an annual basis with pneumonia and other COPD-related complications.  On each occasion I got the same incredible treatment as I did this week.  I hear so many complaints about Canada’s and BC’s medical system that I just have to shake my head in disbelief about what people must expect.  I simply cannot believe that I am the randomly fortunate one.

I’ve said it before and I’ll happily keep saying it — the BC medical system as represented by our Emergency Services and our major hospitals in Vancouver is world class and I am proud to say it is ours.