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Patient with back injury sent from Bonavista to Clarenville for X-ray


John Best could not believe it when his brother-in-law, Steven Tremblett — who sustained a back injury — was refused an X-ray at Bonavista hospital on Monday, June 27.

Bonavista Peninsula Community Health Centre.

“I was fit to be tied,” Best told The Packet on Thursday.

Best, who owns a construction company, is also Tremblett’s boss.

While working on a roof on Monday, Tremblett injured his back while lifting a sheet of plywood.

“It was just a freak accident … The wind took the sheet and it cricked his back,” said Best.

He says Tremblett was instantly suffering with pain after the incident.

They immediately got him off the roof and called an ambulance. The ambulance arrived at Bonavista Peninsula Health Centre at 3:44 p.m.

They thought they would be able to get an X-ray, if needed, because it was before the 4 p.m. deadline.

Earlier this year, in the 2016 budget, X-ray availability was reduced in Bonavista from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. to 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Any overnight call-ins for X-ray technologists were also eliminated.

At least two patients have already been transported to other hospitals for X-rays since the cuts.

While Tremblett arrived at the hospital before 4 p.m., by the time he was checked in and assessed, it was about 4:07 p.m. Too late for an X-ray.

“It was ridiculous,” said Best.

“I said, ‘You’d think someone would be able to override this, where it was so close, right?’ I mean, the man was suffering like a dog.”

They were told he would have to go to Clarenville for an X-ray.

He was placed on a backboard and had to wear a neck brace on the ambulance because of the possibility of a spinal injury.

“You knows what it’s like on a hard piece of plastic, to be carried to Clarenville on an ambulance with the road we’ve got to go over (on Route 230),” said Best. “It’s not a smooth road.”

Best says they didn’t know if he was at risk for a serious spinal injury because they couldn’t do the X-ray. So he had to be left on the backboard until they knew what they were dealing with.

“Every turn we went around and every bump, man, he cried,” he said. “And you knows there’s a good many bumps from here to Clarenville on that road we’ve got.”

After his trip to G.B. Cross Memorial Hospital in Clarenville, Best says an X-ray and a CT Scan showed Tremblett had a broken bone in his back, but no spinal injury.

He was transported back to Bonavista hospital via ambulance — this time without the backboard and neck brace — arriving again after 11 p.m. that night.

Tremblett is still in the hospital in Bonavista recovering from his injuries.

Best says it will be weeks before Tremblett can move properly. He will have months of recovery after that.

“He’s in a lot of pain,” said Best. “He’s going to be off for the summer.”

Best says Bonavista might as well have only a clinic if health care services are going to be taken away like this and continue to accept patients just to send them to other hospitals.

“This is back in the Stone Age. This is 2016, man!”

Meanwhile, daily rallies are taking place at the hospital in Bonavista to protest the health care cuts in the area.

Today was the 11th straight day for the lunch hour protests.

jonathan.parsons@thepacket.ca

Twitter: @jejparsons

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