Patient sent home as Prince George hospital overrun with fear

Sent home as people panic

A Kelowna resident says community fear over the COVID-19 pandemic forced him to be sent home from hospital.

Morgan Peter Dodson says he was visiting his girlfriend's family in Prince George earlier this month and woke up March 10 to discover much of the right side of his body had gone numb.

He went to hospital immediately.

"The diagnosis they gave me was ALS. It was the only thing they couldn't rule out," he said. "I did have more testing scheduled to be done, but what happened the next day cut that short."

He spent two nights in emergency before being taken to a room.

"I noticed a few days prior that there was this huge influx of people from the community. I get the concern out there ... but everyone was coming to the hospital to try and get swabbed and try and get tested.

"The hospital's reaction was to clear out as many people as possible to get ready for this influx, unfortunately, even for the people who still needed care.

"I think they were expecting a lot of individuals to have respiratory issues."

Dodson was one of those sent away.

He's staying at his girlfriend's uncle's house.

"Right now, I am quarantined. Not because I have COVID-19, but because of my health situation," said Dodson.

"Everything has halted. I had specialist appointments with neurologists, multiple MRIs that needed to be done, CT scans that needed to be done."

He says he's not happy with his circumstance, but understands the situation.

Dodson says the medical community is doing everything it can, but he has a message to the public.

"As a nation, as a country, as communities, we can do what we can to help this situation as well. I urge people, unless you have the symptoms or criteria, do not go to emergency. As many were walking into the hospital, I was being wheeled out."

Through all this, Dodson says he hopes to motivate people. He has started two Instagram pages, #sayno2COVID19 and #advocate4happiness.

"Right now, it's a time of chaos for everyone, and I urge people to make their thoughts and decisions based on love, not fear. It's a time we need to band together."

Dodson's story illustrates why health officials have been urging the public to stay at home and avoid socializing in an effort to "flatten the curve." While COVID-19's mortality rate may be relatively low, patients are expected to overwhelm the healthcare system and displace others in need of regular care.

The BC Centre for Disease Control urges people who believe they may have COVID-19 to use its self-assessment tool.

After doing the self-assessment, if you still have questions, contact your healthcare provider or call 811 for guidance. If the symptoms are severe, such as shortness of breath or chest pain, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.

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