The idea that Charlene's life could have -and should have- been saved, adds an excruciating layer to the grief of losing our mother, grandmother, and friend.
This is for Charlene.
I was sad. But now? Now I’m mad.
My name is Katherine Snow. On December 30th, I lost my mother in-law Charlene.
Before I go any further I want to be clear: There are wonderful people who work in our healthcare system and in our emergency departments.
I can’t imagine working in a system so broken with sweeping bureaucratic and policy changes at every turn, understaffed shifts and the tremendous responsibility of assessing the lives in the waiting room.
Mistakes, I am sure, are inevitable.
Charlene went to the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Emergency Department in the early afternoon. She was suffering with jaw pain and flu like symptoms.
It is our understanding she was triaged. Throughout the day, she was updating family and friends, relaying how busy it was in the ER.
After 7 hours, it was no longer comfortable for her to be in that environment.
She inquired about a timeframe for seeing a doctor and she was told it would likely not be until the next morning.
So, she decided she would try the urgent care clinic on the Northside the next morning.
Tragically, she didn’t make it to the next morning. Her husband Freddie picked her up and took her home. Her heart stopped within the hour.
The idea that perhaps her life could have been saved adds an excruciating layer to the grief of a sudden death.
We have requested a report on the decisions that led to her lack of assessment that evening and will be demanding those answers as time goes on.
But for now, I’ll comfort my three year old who cries every night because she misses her Nan. And we’ll be there for her 17 year old grandson as he navigates the rest of his graduation year without his biggest supporter and primary care-giver.
Sadly, Charlene's story is one of countless in Nova Scotia.
We were robbed - and it’s time that we are offered significantly better options for emergency care.
You can take your pet to the vet for all their diagnostic tests, and within the same day, you have a plan of action before you go to bed.
There must be a model where we can implement that for humans, because the system we are operating under now seems to be getting closer and closer to third world standards.
These stories need to live somewhere and I have created this website to give them a home. I’m tired of the cliche ‘things need to change.’ We have to do our part to be the change.
I’m not letting this go and I welcome you to join me. We need to support each other and our healthcare workers as well. We all deserve so much better.
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