A Moncton, N.B. woman is raising concerns about the health-care system, as her elderly stepfather deals with a lengthy wait for a hip replacement.
Karen Cook says her 80-year-old stepfather’s quality of life has been declining recently.
“His mobility is quite drastically reduced, he’s with a cane all of the time now, and when he has bad days he needs a walker,” she said.
“So things like taking the dog for a walk or going upstairs to stoke the stove he can’t do anymore.”
Global News has agreed to protect the man’s identity because he’s afraid of losing his family doctor for speaking out against the health-care system.
Cook’s stepfather has been on the wait list for a hip replacement for four months now. The current provincial wait time is about seven months.
However, on Dec. 21, 2023, he was admitted to the Moncton Hospital because a ligament flare-up was causing unbearable pain.
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“The purpose of the admission was to have his hip replacement, so they wanted to get his pain under control,” said Cook.
“Because of the timing of it, they didn’t have anybody to do the surgery right away but they advised it would be done hopefully between Christmas and New Year’s”
Her stepfather has been prescribed Dilaudid to help with his pain for months now, and was excited to get some permanent relief.
Cook says the hospital admission prioritized him, which meant he would get the surgery sooner. She says a doctor let her stepfather go home on Christmas Day to spend time with his family, and assured him it would not affect his standing for the upcoming surgery.
When her stepfather came back to the hospital after the holiday, Cook says the hospital discharged him, which meant he lost his priority access.
Now, he’s back to waiting.
“When they’ve been told that they’re taken care of, and then the next day they’re told you’re going home, it’s super disappointing,” she said.
“His quality of life is not the same way it used to be. I think the system is broken, I think there needs to be a change.”
In a statement to Global News, Horizon Health’s Executive Regional Director and Co-Leader Surgical Services and Intensive Care, Amy McCavour, said the decision in these cases rests on the doctor.
If a physician determines a patient no longer needs hospital care, they are discharged from the hospital and can wait for their elective surgery safely at home,” McCavour said.
The statement also said that while Horizon Health couldn’t discuss specific cases due to health privacy legislation, “ensuring patients are able to access surgery as quickly as possible remains one of our foremost priorities.”
“Horizon is working to improve health care in New Brunswick, focusing on prioritizing initiatives to improve access to surgery and decreasing wait times,” she added.
— with a file from Global News’ Rebecca Lau
© 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.