Bruce Alan Gordon says he was in disbelief when he showed up at Cité-de-la-Santé Hospital in Laval for a scheduled surgery only to have it cancelled — four times.
Gordon, 61, says each time his surgery was cancelled it was because of an emergency at the hospital.
“We got there at 7:30 in the morning and they came to see me at five past noon. I thought they were joking," he said.
In preparation for his surgery, Gordon, who is diabetic, had taken pills, received injections and hadn’t eaten since the day before.
“It’s the mental preparation, the emotional preparation. The countdown is on, and you get to the last day and say 'Well, in another 12 hours I’ll be there.’ You psych yourself out.”
Gordon faces challenges getting around — one of his legs was partially amputated because of complications from his diabetes. The surgery would enable him to receive dialysis treatments from home.
Cité-de-la-Santé Hospital told CBC it does not provide comment on individual cases, but said it is one of the busiest in the province.
Dr. Alain Goudreau, Cité-de-la-Santé's director of professional and hospital services and medical affairs, said the hospital takes in nearly 200 emergency patients per day.
“Our goal at the hospital is to have a zero-rescheduling rate for surgeries. But if someone comes into the emergency department with a life-threatening condition, there’s no way to tell how long that surgery will last. In that case, we postpone a scheduled surgery to the next available time that the surgeon is available,” said Goudreau.
That’s something that worries patients’ rights groups.
"“It’s ironic because we have enough beds, we have enough rooms, but we don’t have the staffing to take care of patients," said Paul Brunet, president of Conseil pour la protection des malades.
Gordon has been given yet another date for his surgery. He hopes this time his appointment in early March won’t be postponed.
“In a hospital, there’s always going to be an emergency. But if this keeps going on and on, maybe one day my case will be an emergency, where I’m going to have to go to the hospital in an ambulance,” said Gordon.
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