FULL HOUSE - It was standing room only for the ‘State of the Hospital Address’ held Tuesday afternoon at the Baymont Inn & Suites and Conference Centre. The event was hosted by a group called Diagnosis Critical - Your Central Alberta Regional Hospital.

FULL HOUSE - It was standing room only for the ‘State of the Hospital Address’ held Tuesday afternoon at the Baymont Inn & Suites and Conference Centre. The event was hosted by a group called Diagnosis Critical - Your Central Alberta Regional Hospital.

Second rally in June planned for Red Deer Regional Hospital crisis

The hospital, which serves a large population in Central Alberta, has been short-changed in funding, and is facing growth and demand issues.

  • Mar. 8, 2017 10:00 a.m.

BY MARK WEBER

A June hospital rally is in the works after a massive turnout for the recent State of the Hospital Address was held by Diagnosis Critical – Your Central Alberta Regional Hospital.

Last week, crowds gathered at the Baymont Inn & Suites and Conference Centre heard the Red Deer Regional Hospital has been massively short-changed over the years funding-wise from the province in terms of being able to keep up with local population growth and service demand.

Organizers said the lack of health care infrastructure spending that Central Alberta has received over the past many years has led to extremely serious consequences for health care in Central Alberta.

The session opened with City Councillor Ken Johnston sharing his story about a medical crisis within his own family.

“Ours is a cardiac story,” he said, adding that his wife Isabelle suffered a major heart attack last November.

The month prior, he had noted in a report that Central Albertans were 60% more likely to die from heart attacks then patients in Calgary or Edmonton due to the lack of a cardiac catheter lab and other cardiac supports.

“It struck me that morning with a staggering force,” he recalled of hearing that information. “I actually asked myself if I was reading that correctly.

“Because there was no cardiac catheter therapy in Red Deer, she had to be flown by STARS to the Foothills (in Calgary),” he said. “She was in critical condition, she was on life support and was given a 50-50 chance of survival.”

With cardiac treatment of course, time is of the essence, he added. “Time is measured in minutes or hours, and to add time while transporting, to add time without a full cardiac team and to add time into the equation further damages the heart and further elevates the risk of not surviving – simple as that,” he said.

“The fear and anxiety with which these doctors wrote that day in their report in October came upon us as we watched the helicopter take Isabelle away,” he said, adding he couldn’t help but wonder if she was going to be one of the 60% that was not going to make it.

His wife stayed in Calgary for two weeks, and then returned to the Red Deer Hospital where she stayed in intensive care for 65 more days, he said, “Today, her health is fragile. And she remains hospitalized. But we are hopeful she will return home soon.”

He said it was also difficult watching the faces and seeing the emotions of doctors telling families going through the same circumstances that there was nothing more that could be done here in Red Deer. “We have to move your son, your brother, your uncle, your dad, your mother.

“I want to thank this dedicated group for their commitment to us – our families and communities – in what clearly is a treatment crisis in Central Alberta,” he said. “Ponder this – if 60 per cent of Central Albertans were more likely to die than residents of Calgary or Edmonton, because of safe roads or bridges or transit, would we not fix the problem immediately? Of course we would! What makes this issue any different? There is no difference, my friends.

“They are asking that equitable and life-saving treatment be restored to our hospital,” he said. “Why are we not equipping our medical professionals with the best life-saving tools they could have for us? Why? Ask yourself that.”

This kind of limited care in cardiac services is just one way the Red Deer Hospital has fallen so far behind over the years, physicians noted during the course of the meeting.

The hospital is badly in need of an increase in capacity overall.

On the group’s facebook page, it notes the, “Red Deer Regional Hospital is consistently amongst the top five busiest hospitals in Alberta and serves 450,000 to 500,000 Central Albertans as the only referral centre in our zone.”

Officials with the organization also point to a document (the 2016 Multi-Year Facility Infrastructure Capital Submission) they say is at the crux of the matter and shows how Central Alberta is being overlooked in terms of health care infrastructure development.

“Central Alberta and the Red Deer Regional Hospital lack the infrastructure to deal with the volume of work in the area,” said Dr. Kym Jim. “This leads to longer wait times and travel to Edmonton and Calgary to receive care. Central Alberta and the Red Deer hospital lack the programs to deal with an array of medical illnesses that could be dealt with locally if proper funding were allocated to Central Alberta,” he said, adding that all of this was anticipated years back.

“Years ago, when there was something called the David Thompson Health Region that represented Central Alberta, there was a regional master plan and the Red Deer Regional Hospital Master Plan that was created,” he explained, adding this was back in 2007-08. Countless hours went into this report, he said, and it called for service development in the hospital to deliver more advanced services and keep pace with expected population growth.

The plan was shelved with the amalgamation of the health regions in 2008, he said.

“Many years were lost. Unfortunately during this time for Central Alberta, plans were sped ahead in Edmonton and Calgary,” he said.

Then, in 2014, the Red Deer Regional Master Plan was created. Once again, this was after extensive consultation.

At that time, the hospital was third on the list for sites needing major infrastructure improvement in Alberta.

In 2015, there was the ‘Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre Service & Program Expansion Needs Assessment’.

“This showed that we were 96 beds short in the hospital, 18 beds short in the ER, three operating rooms short and multiple programs were missing,” he said.

Last year, the 2016 Multi-Year Facility Infrastructure Capital Submission was released and Red Deer Regional Hospital was no longer on the list, said Jim, adding that several projects were set in Calgary and Edmonton and other places.

For more information, find them on facebook at ‘Diagnosis Critical – Your Central Alberta Regional Hospital’.

mark.weber@reddeerexpress.com

 

Just Posted

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer drops to 71 active cases of COVID-19

Province adds 127 new cases of the virus

Police officers and their dogs undergo training at the RCMP Police Dog Services training centre in Innisfail, Alta., on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. Mounties say they are searching for an armed and dangerous man near a provincial park in northern Alberta who is believed to have shot and killed a service dog during a police chase. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
RCMP search for armed man in northern Alberta after police dog shot and killed

Cpl. Deanna Fontaine says a police service dog named Jago was shot during the pursuit

Alberta now has 2,336 active cases of COVID-19, with 237 people in hospital, including 58 in intensive care. (Black Press file photo)
Red Deer down to 73 active cases of COVID-19, lowest since early November

The Central zone has 253 active cases of the virus

The Sylvan Lake Gulls show off the home jerseys (white) and their way jerseys at the Gulls Media Day on June 17, before the season opener. Following the media day, the team took to the field for their first practise. (Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News)
Sylvan Lake Gulls ready to throw first pitch as construction continues

The Gulls inaugural season kicks off June 18 with a game against the Edmonton Prospects

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

A lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS
No winning ticket sold for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

The huge jackpot has remained unclaimed for several weeks now

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

The Montreal Police logo is seen in Montreal on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Some Quebec politicians are calling for an investigation after a video was released that appears to show a Montreal police officer with his leg on a young Black man’s neck during an arrest. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Probe called for after video appearing to show Montreal officer’s knee on Black youth’s neck

Politicians call for investigation after clip evokes memories of George Floyd incident

Most Read