Debbie Burns believes walking to have a cigarette after gall bladder surgery at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Aug. 12 decreased her stay after surgery.
She is still asking for smoking rules at the hospital in Charlottetown to be changed.
The rule is there is no smoking on the property of the hospital and people must walk across the street to light up.
“It’s ridiculous, there are doctors at the hospital that will say that if you are a smoker, and you’re required to just leave the hospital, they’re at least getting exercise and some fresh air.”
Burns was admitted to the QEH after she found out she was having a gall bladder attack.
“It was very, very stressful, I was in a fair amount of pain so I said, ‘OK, nurses, I’m going outside for a cigarette’,” she said. “It releases your stress — there is no two ways about it, it’s the same as somebody who takes a drink to relieve their nerves.”
Burns doesn’t understand why she had to go off the property to have a smoke.
“At work I only have to go 30 feet away from the door to have a cigarette, why is it any different?”
Burns said while she spent her time in Unit 2, another woman in her ward travelled for a smoke. On her way back in, her IV pump hit a rock and down it went.
“Fortunately, she was not injured but it did give her a pretty good scare as it would have given me also.”
Another thing Burns doesn’t understand is why the terraces that remain throughout the QEH are locked.
“Even a patient who doesn’t smoke can’t step out there and enjoy the fresh air, even a smoker, it’s a heck of a lot shorter distance to go, but, no, they’re all locked,” she said. “All they have to do is put a sign on the door that says use the ashtrays or the doors will be locked.”
During a walk back into the hospital, Burns counted 170 cigarette butts between two light posts in the parking lot.
“Things have to change, it’s ridiculous, it’s dirty and filthy.”
The QEH follows the Smoke-Free Places Act, under section 8.2 subsection 1C. An outdoor area in the following public places or workplaces may not be designated as a designated smoking area, a hospital.