When Healthcare Works

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  • My family experienced one of its biggest scares this weekend – a child in the hospital that made me realize the need of quality Healthcare Provider.  No parent can be calm and collected when a child complains of a pain that you cannot do anything about. The horror stories about the long waits at the doctor’s office, only to be sent away with a couple of Advils or Tylenols, or in this case, a misdiagnosis of urinary tract infection even without the proper examinations, is what raises your anxiety. Worse even is being made to wait for hours in the emergency room only to be sent home with advice to come back if pain persists.

    These did not happen to us, though. Except for the UTI misdiagnosis by a walk-in clinic doctor.

    What did happen to us was great advice from our family doctor, Dr. Villalon, who immediately suspected appendicitis, and ordered blood tests that would pinpoint the problem to the closest degree. With the diagnosis was the advice to go immediately to the emergency room of the Surrey Memorial Hospital if the pain does not subside, which took us there Thursday night. Without the notorious long wait, doctors in the Pediatric Emergency Room ordered the necessary tests and wheeled my twelve-year-old into surgery with Dr. Nguyen by Friday early morning. Opening her up revealed a perforated appendix, which, if we had waited, would have caused her death, since all the pus covered her digestive system. With continuous calls from our family doctor, diagnostics and tests, my daughter’s life was saved.

    The Pediatric Ward or the Child and Youth Services (CYS) Department of the SMH is said to be one of the best in the Lower Mainland, and it deserves that accolade. The nurses there, Erin, Irene, Becca, Jas and Cheryl, took care of my daughter round the clock, checking every pain and discomfort and making sure she was getting her medication. The other staff were also caring and compassionate, and they do a phenomenal job with the other patients in the ward.

    We left the hospital five days after with nothing but a signature for my daughter’s discharge and a few parking receipts for our stay.

    Despite what some people say about our healthcare system, I would not trade it for the world. Back in the Philippines, worries about a sick family member is compounded with the hospital bills that were about to come upon discharge. In fact, you worry whether you would actually make it to the operating room because if you did not have the money for deposit, you would not be admitted and even get through the door of the hospital. What my husband and I were worrying about is how to maximize our parking fee of $16 per day. Looking back at the last few days, we now laugh at ourselves at how trivial parking fees were compared to how much we would have paid for our daughter’s hospitalization if we were in the Philippines. No wonder the Americans are so envious of our healthcare system!

    Of course, the healthcare system can still be improved, and many more people can benefit from it if only the Liberal government puts money into the more important health needs, rather than in useless legislation such as marijuana legalization and assisted suicide. Don’t get me started.

    So, let me take this opportunity to thank our doctors, Dr. Villalon and Dr. Nguyen, the staff of the Pediatric Emergency Room, the Operating Room and the CYS, as well as the other departments of the SMH for doing a wonderful job. You are everyday heroes who deserve our many thanks.


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