A Langley woman says her father suffered through 29 degree Celsisus heat in a Langley Memorial Hospital ward while dealing with cancer and pneumonia during the recent heat wave.
The woman, who asked to be referred to as A.L., snapped a photo of the thermostat in the hospital’s Four South wing showing it hit 29.4 degrees during the peak of the heat wave, which ran from June 25 to July 1.
According to A.L., the main floor and the first three floors of Langley Memorial were cool and air conditioned, but on the top floor, the heat was elevated.
“Even nurses were complaining about it, and other patients,” A.L. said. “They had to turn off lights on the hallway to keep it cooler.”
She worried about the impact on her father.
“My father was sweating extremely, and was quite dehydrated,” said A.L. “He is only taking any food or water by stomach feeding tube.”
A.L. said she thought the air conditioning was broken, but Fraser Health responded to Langley Advance Times questions by saying it was operational.
“It may appear to feel warmer than usual in the hospital, however, given the current temperatures we are seeing across the region,” the statement said.
“Patients and staff are reminded to keep the blinds and windows in the hospital closed to enable the cooling system to operate successfully,” the statement said.
“The safety and well-being of all people in our care is our priority,” FHA said.
The BC Nurses Union did not comment specifically on the status of the temperature at LMH, but BCNU CEO Cody Hedman said the heat wave had exacerbated the situation for an already-fragile health care system.
“As our members work through yet another workplace hazard – this time the risk of extreme heat stress – the effects on patient safety remain a critical concern for our nurses while they are also trying to manage their own personal health and safety as well,” Hedman said. “We are looking to our healthcare employers to be doing everything they can to provide nurses the necessary resources to keep patients and themselves safe during this heat wave.”
A.L. said her father remained in the hospital as of the week of July 8, after developing high sodium levels due to dehydration.
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