N.S. cyclist hit by car in Florida returns home after waiting for Halifax hospital bed
Published Wednesday, April 19, 2017 8:25PM ADT
Last Updated Thursday, April 20, 2017 10:09AM ADT
A cyclist who suffered serious injuries after being struck by a car in Florida has returned home to Nova Scotia, after waiting more than a week for a hospital bed to become available in Halifax.
The hit-and-run incident happened on April 2, while Mike MacCormick and his wife Brenda Ryan were out for a bike ride in Longboat Key during their annual two-month trip to the Sunshine State.
“I came around the ambulance and I saw him sitting on the grass all covered in blood,” says Ryan.
MacCormick was seriously injured and required emergency surgery. He was cleared to fly home last Tuesday, but the family was told there was no bed for him at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax.
Ryan says it made the already difficult situation even more stressful.
“I find it really appalling that we can't get into a health-care system that we've actually been paying for," she says. “Everything just seems to be completely gridlocked. They told us there were people waiting in an emergency department who couldn't get in a bed.”
On Wednesday, after nearly eight days waiting in an American hospital, the family was finally told they could come home.
They say it has brought relief, but also more questions.
“There's something wrong somewhere with either how they're managing the structure or organization of the health-care system,” says Ryan.
Nova Scotia's health minister agrees the situation is unacceptable.
“We have to look after our citizens who meet with unfortunate circumstances and tragic accidents,” says Leo Glavine. “I know during my time in office we've made many accommodations.”
The Nova Scotia Health Authority says it can usually get patients back in the province within one to three days, but sometimes it does take longer.
“It's really no different than a patient who might be waiting for a hip or a knee replacement. There is a triage system in place for those patients,” says Brian Butt with the NSHA.
When patients arrive from outside the Maritimes, they have to first be screened for other illnesses. The screening requires a private room, which can make the wait even longer. Butt says during the winter months, when Nova Scotians are travelling to warmer climates, patients arrive from other countries roughly two to three times a week.
“I can't imagine what people do if they didn't have travel insurance,” says Ryan. “This would be completely unmanageable.”
Meanwhile, Ryan says she is grateful her husband's recovery is going well and that he’s improving each day.
With files from CT Atlantic’s Kayla Hounsell