Get family consent before moving patients to other hospitals: NDP critic

‘Where is the respect and where is the dignity?’

The NDP’s Kate White took the health minister to task this week over the hospital corporation’s decision to force patients to move from Whitehorse General Hospital to hospitals in the communities.

The ability to move patients with or without their consent goes against their right to be treated with respect and dignity, White told minister Pauline Frost Nov. 9 in the Yukon Legislative Assembly.

“Where is the respect and where is the dignity in forcing a patient to be transferred hours away from family without their consent?” White asked.

Overcrowding at Whitehorse General Hospital has meant about four patients per month are being moved by the Yukon Hospital Corporation to the community hospitals in either Dawson City and Watson Lake.

Representatives for the hospital corporation have said that while patients and their families are informed about the possibility of a move, and their concerns are considered, the decision to move someone is based on clinical criteria decided by a doctor.

They argue that moving a patient from the crowded beds in Whitehorse where the hospital has at times been over capacity to the less-used community beds is a way to use resources more effectively. But the move has forced some patients further from their families.

The News has reported on the case of Fred Brown, a grandfather from outside of Haines Junction who was moved from the Whitehorse to the hospital in Watson Lake. Brown’s wife and family have raised concerns about how the decision to move the 83-year-old who has dementia and hearing problems was made.

White said her office has been hearing from other concerned seniors.

“We spoke to another senior at the hospital who saw the elder they were sharing a room with being transferred against their will to another hospital. The patient was expressing verbally that they didn’t want to go, as they were moved on to a stretcher and transferred out of the room,” White said.

“The senior who witnessed this was understandably upset, and now they are constantly worried that the same thing could happen to them at any point.

“Mr. Speaker, what happened to the rights of patients and how is this acceptable? Will the minister immediately direct the hospital corporation to respect its own statement of patient rights and stop transferring patients against their will to community hospitals?”

Frost would only promise to follow-up with the department.

“If a patient requires care, they receive it either at the Whitehorse General Hospital, Dawson City or Watson Lake. Oftentimes we transport them outside of the community. The patient’s physician works in collaboration, and I’m hoping, as indicated, that this is done with the family and that informed consent and collaboration is followed through on and that the necessary supports are there,” she said.

“If we are moving patients, I will commit that we will look at ensuring that family members are part of that process.”

Earlier in the week Frost said her department has offered Brown’s family “support to visit the patient in Watson Lake.”

White denied that was true.

“We have spoken to numerous family members of this individual, and no one has been offered support to visit their family member at the Watson Lake Hospital,” she said.

Brown’s granddaughter, White said, had hitchhiked to see her grandfather and was now sleeping in a chair at his bedside.

“No one we spoke to in the family was offered any support by the hospital corporation or by the government to visit the patient at the Watson Lake hospital.”

After question period Frost told reporters support for patients’ families can include food or giving them a bed to sleep in at the hospital.

Contact Ashley Joannou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com

Yukon Hospital CorporationYukon legislative assemblyYukon politics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Runners in the Yukon Arctic Ultra marathon race down the Yukon River near the Marwell industrial area in Whitehorse on Feb. 3, 2019.
Cold-weather exercise hard on the lungs

Amy Kenny Special to the Yukon News It might make you feel… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
YUKONOMIST: The Neapolitan election

Do you remember those old bricks of Neapolitan ice cream from birthday… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
This week at city hall

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its April 6 meeting.

Two people walk up the stairs past an advance polling sign at the Canda Games Centre on April 4. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
April 12 is polling day: Here’s how to vote

If in doubt, electionsyukon.ca has an address-to-riding tool

Yukon Party leader Currie Dixon addressing media at a press conference on April 8. The territorial election is on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Getting to know Currie Dixon and the Yukon Party platform

A closer look at the party leader and promises on the campaign trail

lwtters
Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Most Read