Was problem incompetence or overburdened resources?

Kamloops Daily News
November 19, 2012 01:00 AM

Earlier this year, my son had to pay for his own MRI because the severity of his condition was not taken seriously.

Despite many visits to Royal Inland Hospital and its emergency department over a 30-day period, no adequate diagnosis was given to account for my son's acute muscle spasms, burning pain, numbness, tingling and severe arm weakness.

My son went from athletically fit to being unable to hold a cup of coffee and eventually unable to walk without falling. The urgency of a diagnosis and treatment was apparent to our family, but not to the medical professionals.

Unfortunately, his acute condition was downplayed and further testing was refused. The hospital-based MRI would have provided a conclusive diagnosis and timely treatment. Thus, my son paid for his own MRI at a private clinic ($2,400) to "prove" his condition was severe and needed emergency treatment.

The day after his private MRI, a neurologist reviewed his case and determined he needed emergency surgery or he would, in all likelihood, become disabled or live with chronic pain.

Thankfully, my son has made a full recovery after surgery. But what if he couldn't pay for a private MRI? No doubt he would have been disabled and he would have lost his job.

RIH, to its credit, investigated this incident and admitted it did not provide adequate treatment. Officials have apologized for their ineffectual care, but no reimbursement of costs has been provided.

Is the continued overburdening of hospitals, added to the shortage of medical professionals, a factor in their delivery of care, or is this just incompetent service at RIH? Is this the future of our health-care system?

I wonder how many others are faced with this same dilemma, private or public?

BARRY AUSTINSON

Kamloops


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