Heartbreaking stories of health care problems

B.C. health crisis

As the B.C. Legislative Assembly resumed this week, your stories were told.

Your voices were brought to Question Period, to try and get answers and improve the systems that are weak, crumbling, or in chaos.

This first week was an emotional one. Hearing stories of people being chased down the streets of Vancouver, prolific offenders committing crimes in Kelowna, or the way our healthcare system is failing people was hard.

But some stories are harder than others to hear.

Earlier this week, a mother’s story of miscarriage at the Penticton General Hospital was revealed. Reading it brought tears to my eyes, and a sense of indignation.

She was alone, in an emergency room bathroom, delivering her son. Later, she was alone in a room, delivering the afterbirth and was told to go home—no check, no observation. What about a DNC? What if she had haemorrhaged?

For those of us who have experienced the loss of a pregnancy, hearing stories of others brings back memories and feelings. That was me this week. Bringing this forward into the Legislative Assembly was difficult.

B.C. Liberal health critic Shirley Bond was so eloquent, compassionate and thoughtful in her question to the Minister of Health. I sat in my seat behind her with tears flooding my eyes, remembering the babies I lost in miscarriage.

How could this happen in B.C.? How could the system be so broken?

In speaking with countless doctors and nurses from across B.C., they are committed and passionate about the health and wellness of British Columbians. But they have been sounding the alarm bell for years—the system isn’t allowing them to do their jobs. And their jobs are to care for us, and help keep us alive.

This week, Mo Amir, host of the CHEK TV show This is VANCOLOUR, did a segment with Andrea Woo on the state of gynaecological care in B.C. right now. After a routine Pap smear, it could be six months before diagnosis and surgery.

When Woo was asked if people were dying on waitlists, she responded, “Yes”.

Unfortunately, people need family doctors to even have these tests performed. We know already that one million B.C. residents are without a family doctor, and one million more are on waitlists for specialist care, so that means that one million British Columbians could be even farther away from a diagnosis, or be in later stages when they finally are diagnosed.

The fact is, we are getting sicker while we wait, which is why our hospitals are overloaded.

So this first week of the fall session, the B.C. Liberal caucus asked the government for answers. (I and my colleagues) brought your stories, your voices, your issues to the House and pressed government to do better. And we allowed the emotion of our own stories of loss, illness and the issues to embolden the stories of others that we brought forward.

Things have to change.

My question to you this week is actually more of a request. Is there a story about our healthcare system, housing affordability, public safety, or inflation that you want me to bring forward in Victoria?

I love hearing from you, and I read every email. Email me at [email protected] or call the office at 250-712-3620.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Renee Merrifield is the BC United MLA for Kelowna - Mission and the Opposition critic for Environment and Climate Change, as well as Gender, Equity and Inclusion.  She currently serves on the Select Standing Committee for Finance as well.

A long-time resident of Kelowna, Renee started, and continues to lead, many businesses from construction and development to technology. Renee is a compassionate individual who cares about others in the community, believes in giving back and helping those in need through service.

She values your feedback and conversation, and can be reached at [email protected] or 250.712.3620

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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