Diana Sparks had been in the hospital in a private room for two days in Port Alberni in February when she was transported to Nanaimo for cardiac tests. When she returned to West Coast General Hospital, she discovered she was moved—to a temporary curtained enclosure barely larger than her hospital bed, and located in what is usually the dining area of the medical surgical ward.
It was the same room that Frank Kruks said he was in following gall bladder surgery last month.
“I didn’t know they were going to move me,” Sparks said.
She was located across from the nurses’ station, and the lights were never turned off, making it difficult to sleep.
The Beaver Creek woman spent six days in the hospital, she said, the last half in the curtained enclosure.
After a couple of days she said staff took her portable commode away, and she had to share a bathroom with other patients. When the facility was occupied on one occasion, she had an accident while waiting.
“It was embarrassing,” she said.
Sparks said this is not the first time she has been hospitalized at WCGH and moved around. About a year and a half ago she spent a night in the emergency ward before getting a bed in the ambulatory care ward, which is supposed to be for day patients, according to an Island Health spokesperson.
Sparks said there were men and women mixed in the ward, including one man with emotional problems right beside her. “I was scared all the time,” she said.
Sparks said she has complained to staff about being moved around whenever she has been admitted to WCGH but only lodged one official complaint in the past—and never followed through with a meeting.
She hopes publicizing her experiences will help people in the future.
“Unless we get this all out, it’s not going to change,” she said.