STATE OF EMERGENCY: Don’t blame hospital staff, patient says

Recent emergency department patient hails 'fabulous' staff, says structural issues at root of problems.

The Abbotsford Regional Hospital emergency room has come under scrutiny after the recent deaths of two patients.

This is part of a multi-story Special Report on Abbotsford Regional Hospital and its emergency department. For more stories, scroll to the bottom of the story or click here.

As a spate of recent incidents of Abbotsford Regional Hospital (ARH) emergency room patients leaves many residents asking questions and, sometimes, casting blame, others have hailed the service they received locally.

Becky Szmutko urged others to refrain from lashing out at doctors and nurses in the emergency room.

Szmutko, her children, and her mother-in-law and father-in-law have all spent time in the ER recently. And while Szmutko says the department seems understaffed, she said that individually the doctors and nurses deserve credit for their work.

“It wasn’t always perfect; not all nurses are perfect, but some were simply fabulous,” she wrote about her mother-in-law’s two-month stay at ARH.

When her father-in-law had to be in emergency, she said he had “a top-notch nurse who was funny, attentive and made his time there much easier.”

And on her own recent visit, she found doctors concerned and ready to do the necessary testing to rule out more serious issues.

Still, there were some signs of structural issues, Szmutko told The News, with a long initial wait to see a doctor while in substantial pain.

She also noted that the family found it crucial to advocate for her mother-in-law and follow up with nurses when immediate care was needed.

“They were busy and understaffed, which does indeed affect care to individual patients.”

tolsen@abbynews.com