Thursday, September 16, 2010


To the Jewish General Hospital Complaints Commissioner
April 23, 2009
I am home right now, Rosemary, but I don't know if I'm coming or going.
Dr. Very Stern said he wanted another test done today but he would not let me stay overnight. I had to go home and come back in spite of the stress and the cost of taxis. Dr. Stern told me that if I could not come back for the test, it was my own problem. He said,  "You are responsible for your own life."
A male nurse named Yannick pulled the painful catheter from my wrist leaving me with blood running down my arm and onto my gown, the papers and the floor.
As I was leaving Number 33 Red in Emergency, an older nurse with long blonde hair grimaced at me and said, "You have the best doctors here. Why aren't you satisfied?"
I said I was satisfied with my doctors.
She said, "Then why don't you just go home and stop complaining?"
I told her she doesn't know my circumstances. I live alone and I am very weak.
She told me to ask my neighbours to help me.
I do not impose upon my friends and neighbours. They all have their own problems.
The nurse told me to go out into the neighbourhood and do good for others and then maybe someone would help me.
I needed that !
It took me about twenty minutes to walk from the taxi to my apartment yesterday. I arrived at about 8:00 PM. I was so totally exhausted it was after 10 AM when I woke up and I have been too tired to do anything but sleep all day.
My appointment for the "duplex" test was at 10:45 AM and there was no way I could go. I phoned the coordinator nurse. She rescheduled for tomorrow. It will be an ordeal to walk to the taxi but I will do it somehow.
I've lost track of time. I've been bounced around so much and tortured with needles and catheters.
I had an appointment at 1:30 in nuclear medicine. It would have been Tuesday, the 21st.
My brother dropped me at the door at Legare. When I started walking the pain that I had in my left shoulder blade increased and a new pain started in the chest, left side. I couldn't walk anymore and it was hard to stand.
That's when I asked the young security guard to get someone to bring a wheelchair and take me to my appointment in nuclear medicine or to the emergency.
He said there was nothing he could do. He refused to do anything or call anyone. I managed to walk over to the room nearby where you get the hospital cards and I told one of the registrars I had a pain in my chest and I needed help.
She told me to ask the security guard. I told her that he said he can't do anything. She said something like, "What does he mean, he can't do anything! Go tell him to call Emergency."
I went back to the security guard and he said there are no porters and he is not allowed to leave his post and Emergency doesn't answer and... and...
By that time I was lying on the floor and one of the crowd said, "The woman is going to die right here in front of us! Do something!"
The guard complained again, "I can't do nothing!"
I said, "Then call 911!
And the security guard said, " I can't call 911. You are in the hospital."
And people just kept walking past me, even a few in white coats. There were people selling jewellery nearby and people selling coffee. Nobody paid any attention.
I heard the security guard, apparently talking on the phone. In French he said I had a pain in my estomac. (stomach). I said, "I have a pain in my chest," and again he said he couldn't do anything. He said he would lose his job.
If you want another perspective, I invite you to contact the one person who acted and took it upon herself to get me to the emergency.
This wonderful person ordered the guard to help her and they both pulled me from the floor to a wheelchair. Then Bonnie, a patient herself, I learned later, wheeled me to Emergency.
It reminds me of the story of Sodom and Gemorrah where Abraham argues with God appealing with Him to spare the sin cities ... if there were even ten good men ...
There was one decent human being in the Legare lobby of the JGH that day. Her name was Bonnie Fraser - a gift from God.
September 16, 2010. Of course, excuses were made. No one did anything wrong. No one was responsible. The young guard is still working at the same job to this day.
Phyllis Carter


kirillgontt said...


I couldn't agree more. I have a story of my own.

My grandmother passed away a week ago in JGH. Following unprofessional approach at the Urology-Oncology by the nurse who did not bother to verify whether there is an infection present prior to administering chemotherapy ( the source of infection, i.e. swallen, red feet was more than visible, but we don't care right?), she developped sepsis and then massive heart attack.

Most probably she will not survive anyways being admitted to another hospital, however, her last three days and our last moments with her were filled with disgusting attitude from nursing staff, disrespect, ignorance.

I do not beleive that any other hospital would allow such a situation: my grandnmother threw up blood three hours before she passed away, the nurse showed it to the so-called doctor, he starts chuckling and says: It does not impress me.

He is standing in front of the patient's bed and his family, what should impress him then? I did not get his name, if you are able to understand I did not have time to do so, but he was on duty in the morning on the 26th of June, 2011 in the red unit, he has curly hair, glasses. Doctors like this shall not be in profession. I would like to enlighten you on the meaning of the profession: it is not about prescribing pills, it is about helping people.

And the nurses of red unit: their attitude is beyond understanding, some guy start screaming at me because I asked for the glass of water for my grandmother.

Why do they develop programs such as CARE and humanization of services: in reality it is the opposite! You are not able to sustain human athmosphere at the basic level of respect and dignity.

And later on when I brought up the story to Mrs. Steinberg, the ombudsman of JGH, I received a letter saying that the investigation can take indefinite time (read between the lines: forget about it).

My question to the strong and powerful of this country: While you bragging about the free and accessible healthcare in Quebec, why you are not saying anything about quality of health care, professionalism of staff and doctors, human compassion as a part of the job?

Rhetorical question, cause I know the answer: all the political talks are made for short term convictions of voters.

Phyllis Carter said...

Thank you very much for sharing your experience on my blog. You will find several reports here about my own experiences with mistakes and abuses at the JGH. It is so important that people speak out. I must tell you that the JGH is one of the best hospitals in the world. They save lives day and night. There are doctors and nurses who deserve our thanks, our praise, even our love and devotion. But that does not excuse the abuses - and we must protest. The object ofthe "corporation"
is always to keep a good public image, so they cover up and suppress, and wiggle out of dealing with the abuses for fear of losing funding, respect, government approval and patients' trust. But we must have TRUTH - THE WHOLE TRUTH. I owe my life to doctors at the JGH. But I will not be silent about the abuses I and others have suffered because of the politics of the corporation and the fear of doctors and nurses and patients to speak up. I am sad to hear about your grandmother's suffering. If you read my articles - SOME OF MY ARTICLES ON HEALTH CARE-on this blog, you will see that I have witnessed undue suffering caused by abusive nurses, negligent doctors and arrogant management. But people are afraid to speak up. Rest assured that your story will not be forgotten. The only way to reduce abuse is to have it out in the open.