Some things just need to be said...

Friday, February 18, 2005

BC Man's death raised in BC Legislature

Family upset with Hospital CBC Photo

A shocking question was asked during question period in the BC Legislative Assembly today. NDP member from Surrey asked the Minister of Health about the death of a a 42 year old Surrey man, who was in emergency for two days when he should have been in intensive care.

Here are the Blues, a draft copy of the transcript:


J. Brar: The broken promise on new beds has resulted in a growing backlog in hospitals as long-term care patients take up acute care beds.


J. Brar: Listen to the question and then laugh. Last Friday Baljit Bains was taken to the Surrey Memorial Hospital by ambulance. He was sick, coughing blood and displaying other serious symptoms. After four hours he was sent home, where he had a massive heart attack. There was no bed for him at Surrey Memorial Hospital — no bed. After two days in the emergency room rather than in the intensive care unit, where he should have been, Mr. Bains died. My question is: can the Minister of Health explain why the people of my community cannot count on good care when they're sick?

Hon. C. Hansen: First of all, I extend my condolences to the family. It's obviously a very stressful time. We have first-class doctors and nurses and other medical professions that work at our hospitals in this province. I know they do their utmost to make sure that every citizen that comes into an emergency room is properly diagnosed and properly treated. I would, in addition, point out to the member that the number of blocked beds we have in our hospital, what they refer to as alternate level care beds…. These are patients that are in acute care facilities who should be in some other level of care. Those numbers….


Mr. Speaker: Let's hear the answer, please.

Hon. C. Hansen: Those numbers in terms of absolute percentage and in terms of absolute numbers have come down each and every year that we've been in office. When the NDP were in office, it would take over a year to get access to a long-term care facility. Today that wait time is about 60 to 90 days.

Mr. Speaker: The member for Surrey–Panorama Ridge has a supplementary.

J. Brar: That's not the answer. That's not the answer.


J. Brar: That's not the answer the Bains family wants from you, Minister of Finance.


J. Brar: Who is exploiting? Listen to the question again. I have spoken to the members of the Bains family. I have spoken at length to Mr. Bain's family members. They are very, very upset with the level of care Mr. Bains received before his death. My question to the Minister of Health is: how can we trust that the Minister of Health is taking actions to improve care for patients like Mr. Bains when the government refuses to put its health care budget up for scrutiny in this House?

Hon. C. Hansen: The budget for the Ministry of Health Services was set out in the budget documents on Tuesday. It is there for everyone to see. They can go on the website and see. What they will see from the budget is that in each and every year since we formed government, we have increased the budget considerably. There is more money going to the health authorities, and they are actually doing a pretty good job of trying to make sure that the health care system improves. We're clearly not there. There is clearly room for improvement in the health care system, but I can say unequivocally that it is a heck of a lot better today than it was four years ago.

Was this man's death due to a shortage of acute care beds? Did it have anything to do with the lack of senior care beds which leads to many seniors using acute care beds?

The Liberals have made some decisions that has seen acute care bed numbers reduced and has failed to create senior care beds as they promised repeatedly over the last four years.

See CBC s Surrey man's death creates a storm of controversy

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