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Former nurse now a Royal Jubilee patient waits months for TV repair

The woman and her family have tried in vain since December to get her outdated, not-so-flat-screen TV fixed — one of many broken in the patient care centre.
Denis Moffatt and Elizabeth Moffatt with the non-functioning television in the Royal Jubilee Hospital Patient Care Centre. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

A former registered nurse who is now a patient in Royal Jubilee Hospital just wants to watch the TV quiz show Jeopardy! — instead she is caught in a contract dispute between the health authority and the TV-service provider.

Elizabeth Diane Moffatt, 86, has been in hospital since just after Christmas, and while her Alzheimer’s provides memory challenges, it doesn’t seem to affect her ability to retrieve answers for quiz shows.

“She really enjoys TV — the game shows like Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune,” said her husband, Denis Moffatt. “Her long-term memory is such that she remembers and spouts out a fair number of the answers.”

Moffatt has tried in vain since December to get her outdated, not-so-flat-screen TV fixed — one of many broken in the patient care centre.

“When I saw the great entanglement of wires, and pushed buttons, and nothing happened, I asked a nurse if I could get it hooked up,” said Moffatt, 86, a former provincial civil servant. “They kind of said: ‘No we can’t do it.’ ”

It’s not the only TV broken in the patient care centre, where Elizabeth Moffatt is on the fourth floor. With no resolution, Moffatt asked to get his wife moved to a room that has a functional one.

“During COVID the contractor said they were not showing up until all pandemic protocols were lifted,” Moffatt was told by staff. “And when that happened a year ago or more, they would show up and maybe repair one TV in the hospital and disappear.”

Hospital staff are equally unhappy with the situation, said Moffatt.

“Their hands are bound, too, and they are frustrated as I am,” said Moffatt.

“She keeps looking at this thing, the TV on the wall,” said Moffatt, at a loss to explain how such a simple fix is so difficult.

The couple have been married more than 60 years and live in a retirement residence.

While one might think this is an issue easily solved by calling the contractor, finding a TV repair person or buying a new TV, it seems not.

The health authority said in a Feb. 7 statement that TV ­services at Royal Jubilee ­Hospital are ­provided by a contracted company, HealthHub Solutions.

“HealthHub reviews concerns about their service and works with Island Health when there are equipment issues,” said Island Health in a statement.

“Island Health is now aware of the faulty TV in this specific room and are working with the service provider to replace it as soon as possible,” Island Health said.

HealthHub Solutions CEO Glenn Gale, contacted Friday, said in an email: “HealthHub is reviewing the contractual obligations.”

It would seem like a one-off problem, except that Rusten Flynn complained about the same issue in June last year.

His wife Dawn, battling cancer, spent much of her last 18 months at Royal Jubilee ­Hospital. When she moved to palliative care in the patient care centre, she was unable to get a working TV.

Flynn, a 30-year B.C. government employee, went public with his complaint to CHEK News in the hopes that no other patient, especially someone who is dying, would be put in the same situation of having no distraction to pass the time.

Flynn told CHEK that HealthHub Solutions said they couldn’t fix the TV. He called it heartbreaking to watch his wife, who he described as a thinker, denied this simple entertainment. His wife died June 14.

Elizabeth Moffatt, in an interview in her room Friday, was able to distil the reason that the contract dispute needs to be resolved and the problem fixed immediately: “Because we are human beings,” she said.

Moffatt was first admitted to the hospital before Christmas for a urinary tract infection and released a few days after. When her condition worsened and there was a risk of sepsis, she was admitted and put on intravenous antibiotics for some time, said her husband.

In the meantime, however, her Alzheimer’s symptoms worsened.

“She is bored easily,” said Moffatt, of his wife who used to tear through the most challenging of cryptic crosswords with a ballpoint pen, never making a mistake.

She carries a notepad and tries to keep busy planning for her future, she said. A blanket with fidget attachments keeps her fingers busy.

“She’s a very intelligent, active lady who is bored silly,” said Moffatt. He visits her regularly, and his daughter who lives and works in Vancouver comes every other week to give him some relief.

Moffatt said staff are doing “their very best” but are short staffed, and with doctors and nurses needing to tend to emergencies, there’s no time for people to take his wife out in her wheelchair or visit a public area with a TV.

In a nutshell, he said: “I try to keep her happy” but she’d like to be able to watch TV.

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