A Kelowna woman is speaking out about troubling incidents she’s experienced at Kelowna General Hospital in recent weeks.
“This isn’t just about making me feel better. This is about saving my life,” Jesska Brewin said.
Confined to a wheel chair the last 3 months, Jesska Brewin’s body is slowly being crippled by a severe form of Graves disease.
“My life threatening condition is severe hyperparathyroidism and severe hypocalcemia which began with the Graves and hyperthyroidism,” Brewin said.
“It affects my joints, my bones, my muscles, my mental health,” the mother of two said.
The disease has robbed the 39-year-old of her once active life, and trapped her in the Okanagan because her body can’t handle travel.
Brewin used to live in Alberta up until she became severely ill on a visit to Kelowna. Her children now travel to see her.
She requires twice-weekly calcium infusions administered at Kelowna General Hospital, but said Ambulatory Care staff decided they would change her doctor’s orders for testing her blood and administering the medicine.
“They said, “No, your doctors don’t know what they’re doing. They don’t know how ambulatory care works” and she proceeded to yell at me for seven minutes on the dot,” Brewin said.
“We’re at the point where we’re terrified to contact Ambulatory Care.”
Brewin said staff have been so difficult, she has panic attacks at the Emergency Room driveway.
The experience is in contrast to the care she said she received as a patient at KGH in 2016.
“The care that I had the 6 weeks of stay, for the majority of that part, was amazing,” Brewin said. “I never ever, ever, expected this.”
Her advocate and friend James Lavoie said he believes it’s policy vs compassion.
“There’s so many policies that can, and in my personal opinion, need to be changed to address the care of the person themselves,” Lavoie said.
A further advocate for Brewin, Sherry Jackson, said she believes staff at KGH are too busy judging and not taking the time to see the person who is the patient.
“I could possibly lose my best friend because of the games that they’re playing,” Jackson said.
KGH Health Services Administrator Andrew Hughes said they only found out about Brewin’s complaints from Global News and are working with Brewin now, to begin a formal investigation of the delivery of her care.
“We were able to follow up with patient and provide the care that they required,” Hughes said.
“We definitely want to work with every individual patient to make sure that their experience at KGH is what they need from a medical standpoint as well as what they want from an experience stand point,” Hughes said. “We wanted to be as good as possible.”
Brewin hopes compassion and empathy are the prescribed fix at KGH.
“I want to survive. I want everybody to come together and work together. And I want to survive.”