Foothills Hospital Offers Great Care

9 03 2013







Over the years, Albertans have moaned and groaned incessantly about the ineptitude of health care services. Instead of seeing anything positive, media hacks focus on any sort of scandal, or perceived incompetence, rather than give credit for what our doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff do provide. After having two hospital visits, totally two weeks in Calgary’s Foothills Medical Centre, I got to see what was going on first hand. It is time for people to appreciate what our health professionals do for us. Most definitely, it gave me insights as to what healthcare professionals have to deal with in their often thankless, day-to-day, hour-by-hour and minute-to-minute work. Certainly, seeing nurses having to care for people in extreme pain and discomfort made me rethink some of the grievances teachers, like me, have about crippling workloads. Nurses have an unappreciated challenging job, dealing with grim situations as they arise. They have to attend to excrement, vomit, urine, offal and the horrors of people voicing agony.

I saw one particular patient provide staff relentless grief, tearing out his IV, needing to be restrained and berating nurses at the ward desk about everything and anything his warped mind could summon. These situations certainly must take their toll and I really got to see how hospital staff takes on much of patients’ pain. I certainly had no cause to complain about the overworked staff while I was at FMC. In fact, I applaud these people for their patience, perseverance and empathy. A clear majority of the nurses who cared for me, while imprisoned by an IV and/or debilitating pain, exhibited compassion and provided competent care. I had acute appendicitis, and had to have an operation to have not only my appendix removed but also a measure of intestine that had been affected by a unique situation. In my case my body closed off the area around a perforation and it took longer to diagnose, along with having to wait for an operation until inflammation abated. After the first visit, I had to return quicker than planned because my intestine had pushed over my appendix’s aperture. While awaiting a bed in the ER, I saw courageous staff dealing with overloaded waiting rooms. I could see why I had to wait 15 hours in the ER, as the facility was saturated with people in need. About a third, however, had self-inflicted their maladies and were taking up time for people who had legitimate emergencies. Some crazies, druggies and a couple of homeless sorts had either stupidly gotten injured or were begging for a fix. I really admired an emergency doctor’s bravery in refusing to cater to an Oxycodone addict’s loud begging for his poison. The doctor had the doper down to loudly pleading even for “a few” just to get him by before he went to a clinic. The doctor adamantly refused. “I don’t know you, and am not giving you that. You can go to your family doctor to discuss getting that medication.” So, the fellow left with some straight Tylenol. I observed that doctor handled the stressful situation professionally, calmly and assertively.

Rather than complain about how long we have to wait for free medical services here in Alberta, we need to see the realities and offer far more support to the professional staff of our hospitals. I can honestly note that doctors carefully consulted each other at each and every step of the process of getting my somewhat dire situation resolved, and I am grateful to FMC for the care I was given. I send my greatest thanks to the doctors, nurses and staff of the hospital and want these people to know that some people sincerely appreciate their efforts.


Miles Burn





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