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Reid family concerned about hospital wait times as Bide Arm mother takes sick

Morris Reid holds a picture of his mother, Mariam Reid. He says his mother has had to wait over a month for a procedure to remove gallstones and her health has deteriorated.
Morris Reid holds a picture of his mother, Mariam Reid. He says his mother has had to wait over a month for a procedure to remove gallstones and her health has deteriorated. - Contributed

“She should be home now finishing off the quilt she had started.”

BIDE ARM, N.L. —

Mariam Reid of Bide-Arm (Roddickton-Bide Arm) has had to wait over a month for a procedure to remove gallstones.

Her son, Morris, is concerned the wait has taken a toll on the 92-year-old’s health.

For over a month, Mariam has suffered from gallstones and the position of the stones is an ongoing issue.

Morris says physicians are worried the stones will get into her bile duct, potentially threatening her life.

Unfortunately for Mariam, as of May 8, she’s still waiting.

Initially, a procedure in Corner Brook was required to remove the stones. It could not be performed in St. Anthony.

According to Morris, they’ll either need to flush out or crush the stones.

However, attempts to send her to Corner Brook were stymied. The biggest issue, Morris says, is that beds simply were not available for her in Corner Brook, although Morris believes there’s a lack of staff as well.

On a couple of occasions, it was arranged for her to be flown out. But another medical emergency and bad weather prevented her transfer.

On May 7, Mariam was finally flown to St. John’s instead.

But again, Morris says there were no beds and she was forced to wait in the hallway on a stretcher until about midnight.

Morris told The Northern Pen they did a test on her on Wednesday morning, May 8, but they could no longer find the stones.

He says further tests will be done but they don’t know if she’ll be able to survive the tests, given how weak she’s become.

Morris blames her condition on the long wait she had to endure.

“They let it go too long,” he commented. “Don’t know where (the stones) are gone and she’s so weak right now after lying in that bed for over a month.”

Over a week ago, he travelled from his home near Springdale to visit her at the hospital in St. Anthony.

He says his mother has remained active well into old age. Even up to the age of 92, he claims she’s always been able to take care of herself, despite having arthritis for 40 years.

But he felt she took a turn for the worse, lying in the hospital bed for over a month without exercise and physical therapy.

He says this is bad for a person, especially one who has always been so active.

“She always got up and showered herself, dressed herself, cleaned her room, she always took care of herself all those years,” said Morris. “Within a month, in that bed, she hasn’t put her foot on the floor. That’s too long, for someone 92 with arthritis. I don’t think she’s ever going to dress herself again.

“She never stopped, that’s what kept her going. But waiting around in a bed is going to take her out.”

He believes what is happening to his mother is unnecessary.

“Stones don’t kill people,” he said. “The waiting kills people. She should be home now finishing off the quilt she had started.”

Morris says he’s called everyone he can think of to voice his concerns and look for a solution, including the premier’s office, the opposition’s office, as well as the offices of St. Barbe – L’Anse aux Meadows Liberal MHA Christopher Mitchelmore and his political opponent in the district, PC candidate Sheila Fitzgerald.

But he claims he never received a return call.

Now, he worries it’s too late.

The Northern Pen contacted The Department of Health and Community Services regarding wait times for transfers. A spokesperson responded that the dept could not comment on individual cases due to privacy reasons.

stephen.roberts@northernpen.ca

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