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Letters Sept. 27: Grim scenes from the ER; a life that could have been saved

The entry to the emergency ward at Victoria General Hospital. A letter-writer shares her story of a recent visit to a capital region emergency room. TIMES COLONIST

Scenes from the ER during a doctor shortage

When our family doctor checked my sick husband, she advised us to go straight to the hospital. We did that, but waited all day in the waiting room. At 8 p.m. we walked out because we couldn’t sit in the plastic chairs any longer, and went back the next day.

There were fewer patients in the waiting room. My husband saw a doctor after just a couple of hours and was admitted to hospital. But what happened to all the others that were there the day before?

The pregnant woman across from us in the waiting room — the one I thought was in early labour, moaning on the shoulder of her mother.

The 90-year-old gentleman, brought in by paramedics, who had fallen on the sidewalk in front of his house. He was all wrapped in blankets and his head bound by gauze, where blood began to ooze out.

What about the couple brought in by ambulance after a car crash?

How about the woman with dementia who wore a pyjama top but no bottoms? One of the other patients in the waiting room tried unsuccessfully on numerous occasions to cover her with a blanket.

How about the girl with a broken leg or ankle who reappeared with a leg brace and crutches?

There were numerous other patients, some with obvious injuries and others with unseen complaints.

And what about the man in the cubicle next to ours, whose conversation was heard by all the other cubicles, including us. He was tired, he complained, very, very tired. What was the triage process in which he saw a doctor before we did?

Then I realized that those without a family doctor were serviced here in the emergency room, along with the real emergencies. A walk-in clinic of sorts. No wonder the hospitals are overcrowded.

Carol Gartrell
Cordova Bay

Lives can be saved with involuntary treatment

On Sept. 15, our son passed away from an illicit drug overdose. He was just 39.

He had been struggling with mental-health issues and was in and out of hospital over the years. When he was released from the Royal Jubilee Hospital, they told us he would get a case worker to help when he returned to Duncan.

This never happened, and we were told they don’t do that here. We took our son into our home to keep him off the street and tried getting help for him.

We tried speaking to the Duncan mental-health people and were told “for privacy reasons we can’t talk to you,” and got the same response from the family doctor. There wasn’t any counselling available to us to help our son.

He took to the street for the past 17 months and had stopped taking his medication.

We knew he needed treatment in a safe and secure place, but this could only happen if he agreed he had a problem.

Our son was the perfect candidate for involuntary treatment, which is being debated by the talking heads. If this treatment had been available with family support, I am sure my son would be alive today.

So to all you privacy and human-rights advocates, maybe think of us when the politicians (such as David Eby) bring in the legislation and start saving these people.

We were told that if you need help don’t hesitate to call, but when we called, nobody picked up the phone.

Randy Blaney
Maple Bay

How can they run here when they live there?

Is it possible that a premier of B.C. could live in Alberta? No, of course not. Then how is it possible that candidates for mayor and council for Victoria can live outside of Victoria — like Saanich or Esquimalt — are able to make decisions that don’t affect them?

It simply does not make sense.

Martin Lennick

Do any candidates agree with me?

Out of the eight mayoral candidates and 37 councillor candidates for Victoria council, I am struggling to find any that really share my views.

Consider me a heretic if you want but I would like to vote for candidates that would take a truly conservational approach to the evolution of Victoria.

Cities change over time, and I wouldn’t want buildings to be preserved if they’re empty just because they’ve been like that for a long time.

But if there are areas which are working just fine, like in the Harris Green neighbourhood where there are proposals to replace single-storey commercial buildings with tower blocks up to 32 storeys tall, I would really like to be able to vote for the status quo.

I don’t believe that we should keep developing Victoria in a vain attempt to reduce property prices.

I also wonder whether any of the candidates share my view that it was outrageous for a mob to tear down the statue of Captain James Cook, and that a larger, more vandal-proof statue should be put up in its place. If you don’t think that it should be replaced, would you stay silent if the statue to Queen Victoria was torn down?

If there are any candidates who agree with me on either of the above two issues, you need to make yourselves known. If there are only two or three candidates with similar views, then you could well get elected as there would be a concentrated vote for you.

Matthew Cousins

These groups are sharing a bed

Re: “Keep party slates out of our elections,” letter, Sept. 23.

Beware the ides of October. Where does Viva Victoria end and the Peoples Party of Canada (PPC) begin? They do not. They are in a far-right bed together. Scary stuff.

Sandra Glass

Put the ferry terminal in the Steamship building

We should not be discussing $270 million on a new facility. We should repurpose/revert the Canadian Pacific Steamship Terminal building, which has multiple floors, and is a timeless way to arrive into Victoria.

It received many ships over many years, and those examples can be found in many of our archives.

The welcome hall could boast a Lekwungen museum/artifacts, and the waterfront area where the undersea garden was can be a secured dock.

This would cost a lot less than $270 million, and the money saved could be used to battle the infamous housing crisis and many other things that need attention.

The building has been seismically upgraded at a significant cost, so most of the work on modernizing the facility has already been done.

It used to be the ocean gateway for arrivals and can be again.

This would also be a great time to review the need, or the necessity of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority managing the Steamship Terminal as well.

Sometimes you don’t necessarily need to reinvent the wheel, just put air into it.

Derek Sanderson

How would those trustees have voted on the sale?

Now that Jordan Watters and rest of the Victoria School Board have been told by the Supreme Court that they did not have the “implied authority” to remove two elected trustees, every decision since their removal must be revisited, including the ones that resulted in the sale of school land.

Janet Simpson

Vote for those you know, don’t throw away votes

When voting in the civic and school board elections, Victoria voters need to be aware that they are not required to vote for all eight or nine candidates. You don’t need to fill every slot.

You can vote for three or four if those are the only ones you know about or feel confident about. With such a flood of candidates it’s very important to choose wisely and not to throw away votes on people you know nothing about.

Ingrid Olson Mercer

COVID is still here, problems are still here

The problems at airports are far from over and COVID is alive and well. We just returned from two weeks in Ireland and I can tell you with great confidence the airlines are not equipped for the volumes of people they are selling tickets to.

Our return trip took about 30 hours by the time we dealt with mechanical delays, mysterious emergencies and re-routing. We were issued meal vouchers for closed restaurants, hotel vouchers for cities we weren’t in and emailed important flight information for flights that were long gone.

When we tried to use the airline’s app on multiple occasions, it would only say “offline.” In person the staff were helpful, really did seem to be trying, and put on a brave face, but they were forced to work within the confines of an airline not ready for current volumes.

On top of that, the wearing of masks on planes is encouraged but not enforced, and the airports are a free-for-all with my wife and I being the extreme minority when it came to keeping them on.

Not that they helped much, as we both tested positive.

We still had a good trip, but given what we now know I think we would have waited another year.

C. Scott Stofer

Demonizing landlords won’t help with housing

Re: “Increasing rents when tenants leave is an injustice,” commentary, Sept. 21.

I can’t let this commentary go by without putting another side to this debate — one from a landlord’s side.

My daughter purchased a 40-year-old property five years ago before the madness of realty inflation hit. She had to rent the house out as she was offered a job overseas.

She has a mortgage which was $2,800 a month, and which has now gone up to $3,045 a month. The first tenants couldn’t pay more than $2700 a month, so she absorbed that cost cause she wanted to help the family out.

The second tenant who has been in for three years pays $3,000, and because of a freeze on raising rents, she is absorbing the difference between rent and mortgage.

She is only allowed by law to raise the rent by two per cent, which means the increase starting in January 2023 will only be $60. The rental increase doesn’t include the property taxes ($3,600 a year), insurance ($1,600 a year), and house repairs — new washer and dryer, roof repairs, gutter cleaning, new water tank, garage door repairs etc.

My daughter could sell the house and make a ridiculous profit, but she would never be able to buy again if she were to return here to live.

Instead of blaming the property owners, the government should be responsible by giving better tax incentives, for example, to keep property rents lower.

I don’t believe, as the writer suggests, that mandating a freeze on rent increases between tenants is the answer. It might incite more property owners to sell, which would then cause less rental property to be available, or cause rental increases due to rising mortgage interest rates.

Demonizing landlords is not the answer.

Y.S. Lang


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