Cariboo rollover victim raises concern over Kamloops discharge

‘I can’t get from Kamloops back to 100 Mile House injured, confused… no shoes, no clothes whatsoever’

UPDATE: We’ve updated this story to include further comments from Interior Health and Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett.

A South Cariboo woman is raising concerns about the way out of area patients are being discharged from Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops.

Olivia Fletcher was involved in a rollover outside Clinton on Friday (Nov. 15), she says.

“I was pinned in the vehicle. I ended up with quite a few injuries. They decided that they needed to send me to Kamloops.”

They proceeded to cut off her clothes and put a catheter in her and told her that they would send her to Kamloops and returned, she says.

“I went to Kamloops and, I mean, the care was fine while I was there,” she says. “At one o’clock [p.m.] they told me, keep in mind I have no shoes, no clothes whatsoever, they told me that I’m being released to the streets and I have to find my own way. There is no way. I can’t get from Kamloops back to 100 Mile House injured, confused, because I have a concussion, I’m on pain meds, no shoes, no clothes whatsoever they want to send me out on the streets. I flat out said no.”

According to Fletcher, they told her that’s, unfortunately, the way it is, you get there you figure yourself out whether you have clothes or not.

“I made it very clear that that was not going to be happening and that the only people taking me home would be them or a news crew because this is not acceptable.”

After fighting with Royal Inland Hospital for five hours, they issued her a $400 voucher for her to get home, she says.

Not everyone will fight for and get that ride home, says Fletcher.

Tracey Rannie, executive director of clinical operations for Royal Inland Hospital, says that while she can’t comment on specific patient details, she assures people that they follow proper discharge procedure.

“Discharges from hospital are planned with the patient, physician and care team, and would include involvement of a social worker if a patient has specific needs or challenges. Patients would only be discharged when they are medically cleared and safe to return home.”

They recognize that transportation can be a challenge to rural communities, she says and that they do provide patients with options, including taxi vouchers if they do not have access to support from family or friends.

“Clothing and shoes are offered if an individual arrives without their own. We encourage patients who have concerns with care or their discharge that cannot be addressed with the hospital to contact the IH Patient Care Quality Office so we can review those concerns.”

Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett says it’s been this way as long as she can remember.

“Especially an emergency, when someone has nobody to take them home, they need to be taken care of. It’s always been a huge issue but it appears to be getting worse,” noting that there are social workers to help in a case like this.

There are different situations and different circumstances, she says.

“We have a transportation system but it’s only two days a week. I think that these things need to be looked into and that there needs to be more care taken with people from rural British Columbia who don’t have access to taxis and buses and things like that as much like cities do.”

Fletcher echoes that sentiment.

“They took the funding for the people only in 100 Mile and that the only way we’re going to get it back is if the patients come forward and let people know what’s happening and it needs to be done. I’m horrified,” she says. “You can’t even call yourself a nurse if you’re willing to go out of the way to get [patients] to where they need to be and then throw them out into the cold street.”

RELATED: Frustration at the fore at Interior Health public meeting

“Why the Cariboo is getting away with this I don’t know but it’s got to stop.”

It’s not the first time the issue of discharges has been raised.

At an Interior Health public meeting in Ashcroft on Oct. 18, an audience member said that he had a health situation that sometimes takes him to Kamloops.

“The last time I was there I was discharged at 3 a.m. Who do I call? People aren’t being served.”

Karen Bloemink, VP of Clinical Operations for IH North replied, at the time, that this concern had been raised earlier in the day.

“I hear there has been some improvement on that front. We need to make sure we’re well connected with Royal Inland Hospital and the services they’re offering so we can coordinate things. And we need to avoid discharges at 3 a.m.”

With files from Barbara Roden.

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Pictures of Olivia Fletcher’s truck. Submitted images.

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