What price do you put on a human life?

Letters to the Editor (The Guardian)
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By Florian Bryan (Guest Opinion)

Editor: I write in support of the re-establishment of the vascular surgery unit at the QEH. My comments are based on a personal experience that happened in February 2013.

I had reason to believe that I was in good health; however, I collapsed on the floor in our home at around 4:30 p.m. on a Saturday evening. I lost the use of my left leg and was unable to get up off the floor. My wife called 911 and I was transported to the QEH arriving at 5:40 p.m. Upon arrival I was delivered to the emergency unit where I was attended to by a couple of pleasant nurses who began to take my vitals and so on. I was in considerable pain/discomfort and every now and then I would pass out. I asked when I might see a doctor and was told he would be around shortly. Finally at approximately 9:50 p.m. the doctor walked in — took a quick look at me — “severe case of diverticulitis” and left. At approximately 10:15 p.m. another doctor came in and advised that he was not satisfied with that diagnosis and requested a CT scan only to be advised that there was no technician on call. One would be available at 10 a.m. on Sunday morning. At this point no one could identify what was wrong with me after being at the hospital for some five hours. Upon the second doctor’s advice, the attending nurse immobilized me and made me as comfortable as possible for the night.

Sunday morning at 10 a.m. sharp I was taken to the CT unit for the prescribed test. In the matter of minutes it was announced I had a leaking aneurysm and another one protruding. Bells and whistles began to ring and panic was setting in because they had to get me to Halifax ASAP. Oh yes, the weather — snowstorm and freezing rain with gale force winds. It was too much for the ambulance to handle so the hospital began to look for an aircraft. None was available as one plane was grounded in Saint John because of weather conditions. Wouldn’t that vascular unit and Dr. Midgley have looked pretty good right then.

My wife was by my side and the attending personnel told her that I was not in very good shape and she had better contact all family members and advise accordingly.

Finally at around 6 p.m. the hospital was advised that the plane was leaving Saint John and with weather permitting would stop in Charlottetown and pick me up. This was 24 hours plus after being admitted to the QEH.

Upon admission to the hospital in Halifax I was met by the vascular surgery team and immediately had a CT scan. The results were not good. I was given medication and then was out like a light.

My wife, son and daughter-in-law met with the attending surgeon who advised that if he were to operate now they could lose me on the table in view of the stress my body was under from the travel from P.E.I. I guess you could say, “I was knocking on death’s door.” No. No need for a vascular surgeon on P.E.I.?

I finally had surgery on Monday morning and I am one of the three per cent that survive for which my family and I are very grateful. Since the surgery I have been under the watchful eye of

Dr. Peter and everything is under control.

I am probably only one of many who have gone through similar experiences. What price do you put on a human life? I fail to understand why our government will not support Dr. Midgley and his supportive associates in their efforts to provide this essential service to the residents of P.E.I.

Their cry is always the same “no money, no money” but there always seems to be money for certain priorities that are less critical than health-care improvements which most of us can attest to, and should be the most important priority of all.

Amen and amen.

Florian Bryan,


Organizations: QEH

Geographic location: Saint John, Charlottetown, P.E.I.Their

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