A 77-year-old veteran was admitted to hospital with “significant medical issues” on Jan. 17, according to his son Darren Laur who says his father has had no privacy since. (Google Maps)

Hospital apologizes for veteran’s five-day hallway stay

Clinical director of VGH says case of retired 77-year-old veteran ‘definitely excessive’

Victoria General Hospital apologizes for the “definitely excessive” five-day hallway stay of a retired Navy veteran.

The 77-year-old was admitted with “significant medical issues” on Jan. 17, according to his son Darren Laur, retired staff sergeant with the Victoria City Police Department, who says his father has had no privacy since.

“My dad is a symptom of a broken medical system,” Laur tweeted on Wednesday, trying to raise awareness of his father’s plight.

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Clinical director for Victoria General Hospital, Mark Blandford, confirmed Wednesday that the veteran is now in a room.

“We apologize, as his case was definitely excessive and we didn’t catch it,” said Blandford, going on to explain that during times of high patient volumes the hospital often has patients in the hallway.

The 35-year-old hospital is generally at capacity year-round, said Blandford, but often goes overcapacity when flu season strikes. When there are more patients than space, some are treated in the hallways.

“We try to limit it to a maximum two or three days. We missed this one. It was too long,” said Blandford. “We’re looking at procedures around this so we can learn from it.”

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Island Health apologized to the family as well, saying care provided in overcapacity environments is generally a temporary situation while patients are in transition to units or awaiting an inpatient room.

“We know when it’s extremely busy some patients are being cared for in temporary and less than ideal places including hallways. We apologize for this,” said Island Health spokeswoman Meribeth Burton. “We never turn patients away and our goal is always to deliver high quality care in an environment of continuous improvement.”

In his Twitter threads about his father’s situation, Laur blames the problem on a lack of funding.

“My dad is like a canary in a coal mine that is sending a clear message that something bad is happening. What is really sad, my dad and his generation are the canaries right now, and they deserve better that this,” wrote Laur.

Blandford said the hospital is adequately funded for its 330 beds, and that it is the space limitations that cause the overcapacity issues.

VGH works closely with Royal Jubilee Hospital, transferring patients when necessary.

“We consider ourselves one hospital with two sites,” Blandford said.

Due to that flexibility, all Island Health facilities continue to have capacity to respond to critical and emergency cases despite the high patient volumes, Burton assured.

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