Health care nightmare

Darrin Yusishen's journey through the B.C. health care system reads like a tale from a Third World country.

The Kamloops man initially went to the Kamloops Royal Inland Hospital emergency room July 20 with intense headaches.

After spending hours in the ER, he was given migraine medication and sent home. Things got worse, and a day later he was back at the hospital where he had a CT scan revealing a brain tumour.

“Getting diagnosed with a massive, malignant brain tumour (Glioblastoma) at age 40 is a devastation beyond words. Getting that diagnosis on your son's seventh birthday by a nurse 'slipping up' and revealing the diagnosis - prior to any knowledge of such and without any other information from a doctor - made it much more traumatic,” said Crystal Maloney, Yusishen's sister.

The family then had to sit and wonder for six hours before talking to a doctor about the tumour.

Maloney said her brother was then scheduled for surgery, but first endured five days on a stretcher – not a bed – in a hallway while suffering the agonizing pain of the tumour.

“Darrin and our family had no privacy whatsoever to try to absorb the life-changing diagnosis. We were left without answers, We were without a room or even a chair to sit on as we stood by his stretcher trying to process this information. We attempted to ease Darrin’s physical pain by massaging his sore spots from the hard stretcher. We covered his ears and his eyes with our hands to protect him from the hallway noise and lights,” said Maloney, adding the first bed he had was in the operating room where he underwent five hours of surgery to remove a large portion of the tumour.

After weeks of waiting, Yusishen is heading to Kelowna Thursday to start treatment, but the challenges for the family continue to mount.

“Darrin and (his wife) Tammy have a severely disabled 11-year-old daughter at home. She has extreme health challenges of her own. She cannot speak or communicate, eat or walk properly. Isabella relies on a feeding tube and she is in agony after each feed. She is aggressive toward herself and others and they have been unable to find adequate child care of respite for her,” said Maloney. “I don't think anyone could understand how terrible this situation is for the them.”

And even as Yusishen has treatment, the family is saddled with the expense of a place to live until the treatment is over.

Maloney has launched a GoFundMe page to raise money to help look after Isabella and cover the massive expenses the family is facing.

But Maloney is not done there. She is also taking on the role of advocate for anyone else dealing with the health care system

She has been vocal about the treatment of her brother and the state of health care in B.C. and recently met with Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone.

“I had a fabulous conversation with him. He is fully on board with trying to help as much as possible,” said Maloney. “He has conversed with the Minister of Health as have I. We are hoping we can make some change to the HC system.

“There is nothing anyone could possibly do or say to take away the traumatic experience Darrin had at RIH. But we can use this as an example for change so he knows what he went through will make a difference for others.

“Navigating the B.C. health care system is very difficult. It is not the fault of the HC professionals, but they have limited resources and the system they are working in is not very functional.”

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