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Victoria, B.C. family frustrated after hospital puts patient in room with no washroom, call button

Click to play video: 'Victoria family speaks out after man put in Royal Jubilee Hospital sunroom'
Victoria family speaks out after man put in Royal Jubilee Hospital sunroom
A Victoria family is speaking out after a man who was admitted to hospital after breaking his hip was put in a sunroom, with no washroom, and no effective way of calling for a nurse. Kylie Stanton reports – Mar 21, 2022

The family of a Victoria B.C., man is speaking out about overcrowding at Royal Jubilee Hospital after he was put in a sunroom while being treated for a serious injury.

John Preston, 56, fell and broke his hip while trying to replace a lightbulb recently.

After being admitted from the emergency department, he was put in a sunroom with no washroom or call button for a nurse.

Instead, he was given a commode and a hotel counter bell, which Preston said was useless in calling for help when he needed it.

“The sunroom is not proper for a guy who is in medical need,” Preston told Global News Monday.

“This one night I was in real bad pain and I just kept on banging (the bell) and nobody came and I took that thing and I threw it on the floor and still nobody came. Nobody came until they wanted to come in there.”

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He said nurses told him they had to wait for a security guard before coming into his room. “For what?” he said. “For me with a broken hip?”

Preston said it is not the nurses’ fault but he’s angry and frustrated at the situation he has found himself in.

“I would like to have a new hospital,” he said.

“I understand the situation of what’s going on around here, and I think there’s no way we can adjust it. We just have to take it day by day, I guess.”

Royal Jubilee Hospital care
John Preston in his room at Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria. Submitted
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Jan Robinson, Preston’s sister, said the room has a fantastic view but there’s nothing in the room to help someone heal.

“He has a commode there, and when I went up yesterday there was no catchbasin in there,” she said. “Even if he wanted to use the commode, he couldn’t.

And the bell, he did try ringing the bell, nobody came, he threw it, he broke it. They came in, ‘oh the bell is broken, here we’ll give you a new one’.

Robinson said there is no way to contact any staff and if the nurses are away from the desk they are not going to hear him.

She said the nurses are doing everything they can her brother is receiving good care but the conditions of the hospital are not acceptable.

They are also concerned about racial profiling.

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Robinson said on Sunday they talked to the clinical nurse lead about the room conditions and she had asked Preston how he had injured himself. When Preston told her, Robinson said the lead asked him how much he had been drinking at that time.

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“That has nothing to do with the room situation and if she had read the chart before she came in she would have seen that there was no alcohol involved and it wasn’t an issue,” Robinson added.

“This type of stereotyping, it’s got to stop.”

In a statement to Global News, Island Health said they are always concerned when the care received does not meet a client’s expectation and they take all complaints seriously.

“Hospitals all across our region – and across B.C. – are incredibly busy and capacity issues are an ongoing challenge, particularly when the COVID-19 pandemic and seasonal illnesses continue to affect the population,” the organization said.

“We never turn patients away and our goal is always to deliver high quality, culturally safe care in an environment of continuous improvement.”

Island Health said when the hospitals are busy, some patients are cared for in temporary places, including sunrooms.

“These situations are temporary while patients await transition to a unit or room, and we ensure the delivery of appropriate care and appropriate staffing levels.”

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Robinson said they are looking at making a formal complaint against the hospital.

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“The public needs to be aware of what our health system is going through,” she added. “We’re in a crisis. And it’s not towards the staff, they’re working within that crisis.

“We need help.”

— with files from Kylie Stanton

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