By MELISSA SMITH
The Niagara Health System (NHS) trust and reputation survey report results were released on Nov. 9.
They show that “there is a significant lack of trust in the Niagara Health System, related to its negative reputation.” Various visitors to the NHS institutions have noted similar opinions and frustrations.
Scott Russell, 31, of St. Catharines had frustration on his visit one evening to the Emergency Room at the St. Catharines General Hospital in October after an immediate pain in Russell’s right calf started after he had been playing basketball.
Russell noticed that the pain was not subsiding over the course of the night. In fact, the pain kept him up and his right foot began to fall asleep, so he “got worried.”
Russell entered the hospital at about 2:15 a.m. He said he “finally got taken back to a room around 5 a.m.” and the doctors told him to fall asleep on the chair if he was tired.
“I couldn’t because of the lights, people coming in and out and I couldn’t get comfortable in there,” said Russel.
“I knew the pain wasn’t in my Achilles tendon the whole time, and I was telling the doctors that it was in my calf,” said Russell who had an ultrasound and X-ray on his right Achilles tendon.
With another hour passed, Russell said, “I was told that they were finished and nothing was showing in the Achilles.”
“I said to the nurse, ‘What about my calf? I know what a ruptured Achilles feels like. Do my calf. That’s where it hurts.”
Time passed and Russell said the nurse told him that there was “no significant tear on the calf” and that if it did not subside in two days to specifically ask for her. “She was very helpful and nice.”
“I kind of yelled a little at the ultrasound technician. I’m in here because my goddam calf hurt. There is not an option.
“I have been sitting here for eight hours. That’s when I started to get short with people coming in to help.”
After being told to wait longer to receive crutches and instructions on how to use them, Russell said, “15 minutes passed and no one came in.”
“It had been nine hours and I hadn’t ate and hadn’t slept. I told the hospital I needed to get out of here and that I knew how to use them,” said Russell.
Leaving at about 11:15 a.m., Russell said that waiting time in the hospital was not the “most frustrating point; it is the fact that there is one doctor on duty.
“I don’t know if people know that there is only one, but one doctor for one city is crazy to me. I think if people knew that, I think they would be a little more outraged. That’s where waiting time is reflected,” said Russell.
Scott Simpson, 52, of Stevensville, said he hasn’t had to resort to going to the Niagara Falls Emergency Room, so the closure hasn’t had “any particular impact.”
Simpson said he entered the St. Catharines General Hospital in November and “noticed the sign that read it could be up to a six-hour waiting time.”
“I asked, is there somewhere else I can go rather than take up space here for a CAT scan but she said I couldn’t because I needed the CAT scan here,” said Simpson.
Thinking about the six-hour waiting time sign at the entrance of the hospital, Simpson said, “If I’m going to sit here for six hours, it’s going to be on a full stomach. They say for the whole region to come here for one CT machine, and that sucks, so maybe they need more CT machines in the hospital if this is the location.”
When comparing previous years’ hospital visits to visits now, Crystal Angle, 28, of St. Catharines laughed and said, “Lately you usually have to wait. I’m not going to say much, but, like I said, lately, you usually have to wait.”