Arron Linklater says he has been banned from the DC Hospital as of Sept. 26 – despite his daughter wanting him there to be an advocate for her care.
“It freaks me out when he isn’t here – I can’t answer all the questions,” says daughter Karmen Linklater, 18.
On the evening of Sept 25 and morning of Sept 26, Linklater took Karmen – who suffers from nephrotic syndrome – to the ER for a Benadryl shot. Nephrotic syndrome is a kidney disorder that causes your body to excrete too much protein in your urine.
While in the ER, Linklater says staff told him he had to leave, or they would phone the RCMP. His daughter did not want to stay in the Dawson Creek and District Hospital without her father. Karmen does suffer from development issues.
“This stresses me out,” Karmen says, adding she is angry and upset.
“It makes me want to leave and not want to be there,” she tells the Mirror.
Linklater says in February he received a vague letter in the registered mail signed by no one, containing no names, only titles. Its vague nature mentions nothing Linklater has actually done beyond language and social media posting about the quality of care at the hospital. Linklater says he and Karmen have been in the ER numerous times since February for treatment with no issues.
“If I’m not there, they make decisions that have harmed her. I don’t need to be there for them to (screw) up, but if I am, I can catch it. I have never been told to leave until Sept. 26. I've never had anyone ask me to leave before in seventeen years," he says.
Karmen says during care she was given Adavan (Ativan) despite her records showing she is allergic to it – and says she was once given a double dose of morphine back to back by two nurses not communicating with each other.
“They never tell me what they are doing – at least my father asks what is going on. They don’t like that.”
An unsigned letter from the Northern Health Director of Care chastises Linklater for unacceptable behavior and language at the Dawson Creek Hospital Emergency Department.
“Your violent behavior was in the form of abusive language towards nurses and the attending physician, as well as using social media to personally and racially slander a physician. This behavior is not appropriate and will not be tolerated at any time,” reads the unsigned letter.
“Director of Care, Dawson Creek and District Hospital; Health Services Administrator for Dawson Creek, Chetwynd, and Tumbler Ridge, and Emergency Physician Groups and Medical Chiefs of Staff,” were only words at the bottom of the correspondence. It does not indicate whether any of them authored the letter, or exactly who authored the letter.
Linklater’s daughter Karmen was diagnosed with nephrotic syndrome at the age of two. Since then it has been a lifetime of hospital visits. Both Linklaters notes Alberta’s Children’s program was tip top, but as Karmen ages out, and becomes an adult, BC and local resources are quickly dwindle down to Karmen’s only option. And as far as they are concerned, remaining options suck.
“It is a case of one or two staff taking a personal grudge out against me and waiting for us to walk into the ER with my daughter to do it," he says.
As it relates to the letter, Linklater says if it didn’t come registered mail, he would think it is a hoax. It still could be, with no name owning up to the letter, a single author could have written it and sent it to Linklater alone.
Indeed, the unsigned letter is headlined with violent behavior, but only touches upon social media posts and abusive language talking about his daughter’s care.
“They don’t want me there to catch a mistake. I’ve watched nurses walk in, not read her chart and start administering drugs not allowed. I catch them, or ask what is going on, and they don’t like that, naturally.”
Eryn Collins with Northern Health, while not speaking on Linklater’s specific case, notes Northern Health has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to the protection of patients, staff, and visitors.
“We take a progressive approach beginning with verbal and moving to written warnings,” she said adding the best avenue for Linklater to voice concerns with quality of care is Northern Health’s quality of care toll free number.
“Anyone with concerns about their care are encouraged to call our Patient Complaint Quality office lines.”
Northern Health officials could not confirm where Linklater’s letter falls in their process of policy, and could not speak to the vague, and unsigned nature of the letter.
One Peace region doctor confirmed while the letter sent to Linklater was unsigned, other copies, such as ones circulating amongst hospital staff, were complete with author’s names, and who wrote the letter.
“Northern Health and Dawson Creek officials know precisely and exactly who wrote that letter.”
Northern Health’s policy reads; restricting a visitor’s access is to be used as a last resort.
“If restriction is considered, manager of the program documents in the PSLS event record the progressive processes used, including, if time permits, escalation to senior administration for approval before implementation,” reads Northern Health’s policy. Linklater has only received an unsigned letter, and he says that is part of the larger problem.
“Karmen and I have gone to meetings, where everyone in the room talks about meeting they’ve had in relation to Karmen’s care, that neither my daughter nor I have never been to, and never been invited to.”
Karmen and Arron are more concerned about another clock ticking. Karmen turns 19 this October, this month. He realizes Northern Health considers her an adult since 17, but says this doesn’t change any lack of care.
“I’m trying to protect my daughter. Since she is turning 19 I understand I am not her legal advocate anymore, but this is ridiculous. I will always be an advocate for my daughter. I’ve never used profanity – I’ve never interacted with them unless I see something going wrong – or they’re not asking Karmen whether I’m there or not.”
“I try to answer all the questions, but I tell them my father knows all of the history.”
The elder Linklater says he has presented staff with a complete file of medical history of his daughter – only to have it thrown into the garbage front of him.
“The only help they want to offer are things we can do from home. We didn’t come for a home remedy – this is why we are here.”
According to Northern Health’s policy on managing disrespectful visitors, it says “patients have a right to receive visitors, and to exclude visitors based on their own preferences, to the greatest extent possible given their clinical condition and the operational requirements of the program, service or facility.”
Arron Linklater says that is the crux of the problem.
“They are not listening to their patient, my daughter, at all. They are not looking at her file and are not interested in anything we have to say. That is the problem.”
The policy reads for situations not involved immediate risk, a progressive problem solving approach is noted, from explanation of behavior, supervisor engagement, risk management consult, verbal warnings, written warnings for potential restrictions, an informal conflict resolution process, supervised visitation, time limited visits, and finally restriction from the facility.
While all of these steps are to be documented, Linklater has a one page unsigned letter.
“I was booted out of the hospital last week for no reason. I have staff on site telling me Northern Health has banned me. Senior staff say they have not. There is nothing but miscommunication going on here. I have emergency staff telling me there is an email going around banning me and that they will call the RCMP. There is no documentation of an disturbances, the only document I have is a vague, unsigned letter, and a sick daughter.”
Linklater was told visitors wishing to dispute the access restriction may contact the Patient Complaint Quality Office (1-877-677-7715 or email the email@example.com).