Surgery postponed for fifth time — at operating room door

George Harrison was oh so close after waiting two years for abdominal surgery.

GEORGE HARRISON REACHED the operating room door at St. Joseph's General Hospital on Wednesday when exploratory abdominal surgery was postponed for the fifth time.

GEORGE HARRISON REACHED the operating room door at St. Joseph's General Hospital on Wednesday when exploratory abdominal surgery was postponed for the fifth time.

George Harrison was oh so close after waiting two years for abdominal surgery.

Accompanied by his wife Shirley, the 81-year-old checked into St. Joseph’s General Hospital on Wednesday morning, donned a hospital gown and got as far as the operating room door, only to be turned away because no beds were available.

Apparently the emergency department was spilling into the hallways with patients needing beds at the Intensive Care Unit.

It was the fifth time the Courtenay resident has been bumped from surgery.

“I’m really upset,” said Harrison, the Environmental Initiative Award winner at the 2010 Community Awards, recognized for a bottle drive campaign that has raised $87,000 in 14 years for charity.

“I don’t like to blow my own horn, but I have done so much for the special children of this Valley, and then when I want something, everybody’s looking out the window.”

Harrison has three hernias, but his doctor said they are not causing the pain in his abdomen. The exact problem is unknown.

The plan Wednesday was to explore by scope to determine if anything could be done surgically, which would have placed Harrison in ICU. He is to be rescheduled for the first opening after the New Year.

“But I still gotta suffer the bloody pain till after the New Year,” he said.

Hospital administration regrets any time an operation is cancelled, president/CEO Jane Murphy said in an interview.

“To have it cancelled particularly at the last minute, we know, is very unfortunate. We do sincerely apologize for that.”

The hospital, Murphy added, works “extremely hard” to prevent cancelling surgeries, which she said has occurred just a handful of times in the past four to six months.

“That being said, our goal would be to not have to cancel surgeries,” said Murphy, who credits the efforts of physicians, surgeons and all hospital staff.

Post-operatively, Murphy said it is critical to assure the appropriate type of bed and level of service to provide quality of care needed by patients.

“It’s a little different in every case,” she said. “Sometimes it really is hour-by-hour … It has been very busy, particularly the last 24 to 48 hours. There’s peaks and valleys to it that sometimes are a little difficult to predict. Finding beds for all our patients has been a challenge, particularly in the last little bit.”

Shirley questions where healthcare funding — including lottery money — is going. She also points out that a regional hospital is “way down the road” while people like George are waiting in the wings.

“Can we get even a smidge more money going into hospitals so the sick people can at least have a chance of surviving?” she said.

Murphy said the hospital is maximizing its resources and being as efficient as possible to care for and maintain a smooth patient flow throughout St. Joseph’s.

Administration, she added, is working closely with the Vancouver Island Health Authority, especially in terms of seniors and residential care, and community programs to support longer stays in homes or earlier discharges from the hospital, with appropriate supports.

“That’s a key area that we’re focusing on are alternative level of care patients,” Murphy said.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Just Posted

Temperatures are expected to soar by the weekend, with potentially record-breaking heat in the low 30Cs. Those looking to beat the heat in the ocean are advised to pack plenty of sunscreen and water. Black Press file photo
Potential record-breaking heatwave heading to the Comox Valley

“It’s the start of the season and we’re not quite acclimatized to warm temperatures”

Vice-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie assumed leadership of the Canadian Joint Operations Command on June 18. File photo
Vice-Admiral Auchterlonie assumes leadership of Canadian Joint Operations Command

On June 18, Vice-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie returned to the Canadian Joint Operations… Continue reading

Bill Anglin (Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation president & 50/50 Sponsor), Robert Mulrooney (Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation board director & 50/50 sponsor), Jessica Aldred (Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation executive director), and Chris Morrison (Church St. Taphouse co-Owner and manager) in front of Church St. Taphouse in Comox. Photo submitted
Church St. tapping beer for Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation all week

With a heatwave hitting the Comox Valley this week, a beer on… Continue reading

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

CSWM is working on engineering and design for the next landfill cell. Record file photo
CSWM makes budget change for new landfill cell

“It bears to note for the public, you’re paying for it one way or the other here.”

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

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

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

Most Read