Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Medical services should be designed to heal the patient. At the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal great changes are taking place as the system is preparing to expand into a new wing. But, while the Emergency department has been modernized by the new system, some things are serving "the system" instead of the patients.

In October, 2015, I was a patient in Emergency. I was told I needed a CT Scan with contrast. I was required to take cups full of barium.

Through the years, I have had barium drinks for tests without a problem. But the barium drinks provided in the Emergency department were different. They tasted acidic and they made me feel sick. I had been told in the CT Scan department that there are two kinds of barium drinks and the patient could request either. But the "authorities" in the Emergency department insisted that I had no choice. I submitted to the will of those who hold your life in their hands.

Afterward, I had watery diarrhea for two days. I was sent home anyway, stuffed with a huge diaper that made it even more difficult for me to walk. But I was sent home in that condition nevertheless. As a result, I was back in Emergency by ambulance almost immediately, bleeding.

So when I found myself back in Emergency in January, 2016, I refused to take the barium drinks. I explained my experience to the nurses and the doctors. There was some discussion. The test was done without the barium contrast. Why?

I asked the doctor to send me to the CT Scan department for the test, but he said the new system required that patients in Emergency have the scans done in the new CT Scan room at the Emergency department.

So I asked the doctor to request that the CT Scan department send the barium drinks to Emergency for me. He refused. We can't do that. Why? Because that's the way it is.

And so, I demand that the "new system" serve the needs of the patients, not the patients serve "the system." Because that is how it should be.

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