Chemainus – Emblazoned on the side of the Cowichan District Hospital ICU building are the words, “Exceptional Care, Exceptional People”. I had always thought this expression was somewhat excessive in its message, but from recent experience I can attest to its validity.
In late April my wife had a bad fall, and suffered a severe concussion and broken bones. She was immediately transported, unconscious, to the hospital where she remained in a coma and on life support for over three weeks, until she passed away.
During that time every effort was made to save her. The doctors, nursing staff, and technical support people were not only professional, but were caring and understanding of the stresses my family and I were undergoing.
The level of sincere compassion was both a surprise, and a welcome comfort to us.
We were at my wife’s bedside, often around the clock and must have been a distraction during busy times in the ICU, but we were always made welcome and as comfortable as possible.
We were also offered every opportunity to define and participate in the care she was receiving. Counseling was provided daily by the doctors and staff, and we were made aware that hospice spiritual services were available if desired.
At no time were we under pressure to make decisions which we were uncomfortable with, either by the staff or the administration.
The successful operation of a hospital is obviously a very complex proposition. A myriad of details require constant attention against a background of ever changing conditions, demands, and scrutiny by the public.
In our experience, the Cowichan District Hospital does a very credible job of dealing with these daily challenges. As flawed as it might be, we can be thankful for our health care system and the dedicated people in it.