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British Columbia

Parents say they waited hours for help at B.C. ER while their daughter’s condition worsened

The parents of a two-year-old girl with pneumonia say her condition has steadily worsened as they waited hours for help in the emergency room at Langley Memorial Hospital.

Langley City residents Joel and Stefanie Ackley picked up their daughter Gracie from daycare and brought her to LMH on Thursday, January 26, after the toddler developed shortness of breath and a fever.

They said they waited from 3:30 p.m. until 1 a.m. the next day before their daughter was diagnosed, and it wasn’t until Joel raised his voice that action was finally taken.

Stefanie said after their information was taken upon arrival at the emergency room, they were sent to sit and wait without a physical exam.

“While waiting, our daughter drastically refused, became lethargic and could no longer stand,” Stefanie said.

She estimated that Gracie was breathing at a rate of four breaths every two seconds with “extreme discomfort.”

Video provided by parents shows Gracie coughing and struggling to breathe.

When Grace finally got a fever at around 5:45 p.m., her parents estimated that she had a fever of 43.3°C at 90 percent of normal oxygen levels.

She got Tylenol.

“[Gracie’s fever] dropped a full two degrees while we had to sit and wait again,” said Stefanie.

When Joel asked a nurse at 9 p.m. if someone could look at Gracie, the parents said they were told, “We were lucky to have a room at all and we should be lucky we got a bed at all.” .”

As a frustrated Joel raised his voice and said, “Could we please get someone to look at my daughter?” The parents say the nurse threatened to kick her out.

That brought up another nurse who asked what the problem was.

To explain, the second nurse examined the two-year-old and then called the doctor in the emergency room, who ordered a blood test and an X-ray, which at 1 a.m. confirmed that Gracie had pneumonia.

“The doctor and two nurses who helped my little one – after finally realizing the seriousness of the situation – were amazing and I thank those people,” said Stefanie.

“But what is wrong with our healthcare system, why is there a lack of care and organization, lack of staff, and why are situations like this not handled properly?” she added.

As of Monday, Gracie was “doing a little better,” Joel told the Langley Advance Times.

“Her fever has gone down, but her breathing is still rough. She gets buffers and antibiotics.”

ALSO READ: Canadians Concerned About State of Provincial Health Systems: Survey

Joel said the family is going public with their story “because this is definitely a serious matter — that as parents, we cannot have any faith or trust in our healthcare system. We’re definitely lucky that the result wasn’t worse.”

“This is not fair to our children or anyone who needs medical attention,” Joel added.

Since posting details on a private Facebook community page, Joel says he’s been inundated with comments from people reporting similar excessive lag issues.

The Langley Advance Times has reached out to the Fraser Health Authority for a response.

ALSO READ: Healthcare labor shortages are a long time coming

READ MORE: BC must invest in primary care to stem bleeding of GPs from rural areas

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Fraser Health HealthcareLangleyLangley Memorial Hospital

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