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Cancer biopsy cancelled at last minute because of bed shortage

09/18/2014 04:40 EDT | Updated 06/16/2017 00:58 EDT
A woman in Grand Falls-Windsor is furious after her biopsy was cancelled just as she was about to be put under.

Beve Butler said in June, she had a mammogram with an abnormal spot, and was later scheduled to undergo a biopsy.

She said she was mentally prepared for the procedure at the Central Regional Health Centre on the morning of Aug. 13, when she was wheeled to the operating room.

"I was outside the OR, the nurses were all there, gowned and ready. My doctor came out... and explained exactly what he was going to do. The anesthesiologist came out, checked my blood pressure, and did all the reading he needed," she said. 

"And we waited, and we waited, and we waited." 

Procedure put on hold

As Butler was lying on the operating table, a call came in, asking that the surgical procedure be put on hold.

She said about 45 minutes passed. The surgery was finally called off because there was no post-operation bed available for her.

"So after some further hemming and hawing, eventually the decision was made that they could not proceed because they simply did not have a bed for me to stay overnight," she said.

"The doctor came over, apologized to me profusely, and said, 'I'm very sorry my dear, but I can't proceed.'"

Butler said the experience was emotionally scarring.

"To have to go through it and then be cancelled midway because of some administrative thing. Not a medical issue, but an administrative thing. It's very upsetting," she said.

Butler said a systemic policy overhaul is needed at the centre.

"The whole system of beds needs to be looked at badly," she said.

"Decisions that they made like mine, should be made by the medical people, not someone who's out assigning beds."

Butler said hospital staff tried to contact her on the day of the incident, but she was too upset to take the calls.

Central Health is expected to comment on the situation on Thursday afternoon.

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