Man’s health endangered at Comox hospital, says his sister

The sister of a 56-year-old man admitted recently to St. Joseph's General Hospital says his health was endangered.



The sister of a 56-year-old man admitted recently to St. Joseph’s General Hospital says his health was endangered by an overwhelming patient load in a section of the Comox hospital that was restructured last year.Owen Takefman was recently admitted to St. Joseph’s Hospital in respiratory distress and given a tracheotomy in order to breathe, says sister Ann Zanbilowicz.The physically and mentally challenged man received proper care in the Intensive Care Unit, she says. In fact, he might not have lived through the first few days without 24-hour monitoring, Zanbilowicz adds.The situation changed, she explains, when Takefman was transferred to the medical/surgical transitional care unit on the third floor, where she says things were more stressful and chaotic for patients and staff.  “What we saw and were told was that nurses are overwhelmed by the patient load,” Zanbilowicz says, noting Owen’s inability to ring a bell for help. “He was in danger because there wasn’t enough staff to sit with him. This is absolutely not the fault of the nurses. This is understaffing. They are just run off their feet.”Owen’s nurse could not adequately monitor his breathing and seizures because she had other acutely ill patients. When notified Takefman was being discharged, Zanbilowicz says the situation became laughable. “Where were they going to discharge him to when no one had been trained to care for his tracheotomy?” she said, noting the question became moot when he contracted C.difficile, a bacteria that can cause severe diarrhea and other intestinal problems.Takefman remains in hospital until he is better, she adds.Zanbilowicz feels her brother’s experience illustrates the problem of bed shortages and understaffing at St. Joe’s, which she attributes to lack of funding. “No one has stood up to say, ‘We can’t do this on the money you’re giving us,’ ” she says. “Eight thousand people signed a petition decrying the closing of acute-care beds and the firing of 32 nurses over one year ago but we were ignored. We were right and (then-president/CEO) Michael Pontus was wrong. It is a disaster and it’s getting worse as more elderly people are moved into the very limited acute-care beds on the third floor.”Aside from the greater number of patients on the third floor, Zanbilowicz notes the pressure on doctors to discharge patients when others await help in the emergency department.”The administration swore last year that this wouldn’t happen: ‘No acute care beds will be lost. We have a plan with VIHA (Vancouver Island Health Authority) that will resolve the pressure on acute-care beds.’ Not only has it happened but there are still elderly people who should be in residential care in beds on the third floor and the first floor, not just the transition unit.”Hospital administration did not return calls by press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cole Moore with one of his sisters, Jasmin Moore. Photo supplied
Courtenay man looks to brain surgery for second chance

Cole Moore’s sister sets up GoFundMe to help father looking after brother

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Nineteen people arrested, charges expected in Courtenay house raid

Investigators are continuing to comb through evidence seized

Demonstrators gathered Friday, March 5 at the Courtenay Court House, demanding protection of old-growth forests. Scott Stanfield photo
Concerned citizens march in Courtenay in name of old-growth rainforests

The Comox Valley is one of the B.C. communities engaged in mobilization… Continue reading

LUSH Valley’s partnership with School District 71 this past year helped feed 200 students and families through the Good Food Box program. Screenshot, LUSH Valley/Comox Valley Schools video
LUSH Valley-Comox Valley School Good Food Boxes fed 200 families in 2020

Non-profit organization is looking for new ways to collaborate with school district

Dr. Sandra Allison and Dr. Charmaine Enns joined school district senior staff for a virtual town hall meeting to address the latest COVID concerns in schools. Image, screenshot
No secondary cases in Comox Valley schools, say health officers

School district hosts virtual town hall to address recent COVID-19 cases in schools

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The CVRD building in Courtenay.
Comox Valley organizations in need receive funding

The Comox Valley Regional Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has approved $55,000 in… Continue reading

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

A virtual public hearing for a rezoning application for a Comox property was held on March 3. Black Press file photo
No comments at public hearing for Anderton Road rezoning application

The virtual public hearing was held on March 3 for the Comox properties

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Most Read