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Letters  

Smokers with more rights?

I read the recent news article that ward 3-East in the Kelowna General Hospital has had a Covid-19 outbreak.

I am more than familiar with this ward. Unfortunately, my husband was a patient on this ward on four separate occasions in 2020. Let me begin by saying that we have the utmost respect and trust in the very professional and caring doctors, nurses and staff on this ward. My husband's first stay in 2020 was at the beginning of the year and I was allowed to visit him. The next three times that he was admitted, due to Covid, I was not allowed to visit him. Ward 3 is a surgical ward. Many patients are mobile with the use of a walker, wheelchair, or simply walking slowly taking along with them their IV pole.

As in 2020, today, no visitors are allowed to be in the hospital with their loved ones. But, there is an elite group of people on Ward 3. They are those patients who are cigarette smokers. The smoker leaves his room, often unmasked, many times during the day to go outside. Of course everyone carries a cell phone and arrangements can be made to meet with family, friends, even to purchase a meal from one of the many food delivery services. It also doesn't take much street smarts to see other deals transpiring. The smokers gather in front of the hospital, in groups, paying no respect to social distancing and certainly not wearing masks.

They then return to their ward and their bed, bringing along with them whatever they were given or purchased. I was at the hospital on many occasions, delivering special medical equipment as well as medicines needed by my husband. I was allowed to go, masked, inside the front entrance, where the articles were taken from me to be delivered to my husband's room. Even if I were gowned and masked, I was not allowed to go and sit by his bedside. Yet the smoker, in the bed beside him, could come and go as he pleased, meeting up with whomever he had made arrangements with. And now, ward 3 has a Covid outbreak. I am truly amazed that it did not happen sooner.

Sandy Watson, Vernon



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