Dialysis equipment removed from Invermere

“I can confirm that the equipment was removed,” Interior Health (IH) communications officer Karl Hardt told The Echo

While the community of Invermere isn’t losing its dialysis unit without a fight, the remaining  equipment was removed from the hospital on Thursday, July 25th, following the removal of the reverse osmosis machine earlier this month (‘Dialysis unit moving to Sparwood,’ The Echo, July 10th, 2013).

“I can confirm that the equipment was removed,” Interior Health (IH) communications officer Karl Hardt told The Echo. “[Interior Health regional director of renal health services] Paula [James] explained why we made the decision, and all those reasons haven’t changed.”

The Invermere & District Hospital dialysis unit was servicing three patients before its closure. After one patient began home treatment and another lost their life, Kirk Sellers was the only person receiving regular treatment at the local unit before its closure.

“I’ve stated over and over again that we’re not in favour of this in terms of service to the entire Columbia Valley, so I’m quite disappointed,” said Mr. Sellers.

Since the local unit has been out of service, Mr. Sellers has been commuting to Cranbrook three times each week for treatment.

“I’m young and strong enough to drive, at least right now. But most people don’t have that option — they’ve been forced to leave already,” he said.

While IH has said the reason is a staffing issue, Mr. Sellers feels the health authority is misrepresenting the issue “time and time again.”

Pat Shuttleworth with the BC Nurses Union agrees, and claims that willing nurses were available for the job.

“I know someone who applied for it,” she said.

Ms. Shuttleworth applauds Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Norm Macdonald for the petition of nearly 1,000 signatures he will be presenting in B.C. Legislature and his meeting with Health Minster Terry Lake. She also personally applied some pressure on Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett.

“In some ways, it will affect his constituents too,” Ms. Shuttleworth said. “Bill Bennett may not be the local MLA, but there’s no reason why [constituents of the Columbia Valley-Revelstoke riding] can’t say to him that it affects everybody up and down the valley.”

She urges the community to keep the issue top of mind: “Just don’t let it die.”

And Mr. Sellers isn’t ready throw in the towel yet.

“Do we really want to keep losing services?” he asked. “We could work with our community leaders to advertise if we need to get more bodies in here, and the service should be maintained — not just for me.”

An Invermere resident of 45 years, Linda Hatt is also feeling the negative effects of the unit’s closure. Her brother, who resides in Kelowna and was planning to visit the valley in September for Radium’s annual Show & Shine car show, can no longer make the trip.

“He is a paraplegic and has been since he was 17, and he is on dialysis,” Mrs. Hatt told The Echo.

Her brother has had both legs amputated,  one last year and the  other as recently as three months ago.

“He was so thrilled, because he is feeling better now that his legs are amputated, because your heart doesn’t have to work so hard to circulate the blood,” she said. “And so he was going to come up to the car show this Setembeber and do dialysis here. It would have been the first time.”

Her brother started dialysis treatments about eight years ago. Alhough he has tried home treatments in the past, the difficulty of getting in and out of bed, plus the cleanliness of it, proved too challenging. He currently receives his dialysis treatments at Kelowna General Hospital three days a week, five hours a treatment.

“Another thing I don’t think people realize (is that) when you’re done, you’re so exhausted that you can barely get home because of what it takes out of you,” said Mrs. Hatt.  “It doesn’t make you feel better, it makes you feel worse until the next morning, and so for someone, who lives here in the valley, to have to drive a long way to get dialysis is criminal.”

The one thing her brother, who is now 60, has lived for is working on his muscle car, she said.

“[Learning about the closure] was just so disheartening and this is just another story on the need to have a dialysis unit in this population,” Mrs. Hatt said. “The people  coming to the valley who could take treatment here, to be able to have the freedom to come here.”

Shifting demographics contributing to a lack of patients, as well as advancements in home-treatment technology and staffing challenges, were cited by Interior Health as the major reasons for closure.

—With files from Nicole Trigg


Just Posted

The end of an Echo
The end of an Echo

Invermere Valley Echo shuts down operations in Columbia Valley

Creating a new narrative for Canal Flats

Economic development consultant hired, lists vision for next 90 days

Princeton wildfire phots courtesy of Debbie Lyon.
UPDATE: Crews battle as wildfires rage in B.C. Interior

Crews brace for another day on B.C. firelines as no let up is likely

VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers
VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers

Wildfires continue to engulf regions of B.C.’s forests and communities.

Aerial view south of Williams Lake Friday afternoon shows dry lightning storm passing over, leaving fire starts behind. Lightning sparked more than 100 new fires Friday. (Black Press)
VIDEO: More than 180 wildfires burning across B.C.

Firefighters from other provinces called in to assist

DTSS Grad March 2017
DTSS Grad March 2017

DTSS Grad March 2017

59 cats seized in Chase
59 cats seized in Chase

59 neglected and injured cats were seized from a property in Chase

(Flickr/Andreas Eldh)
Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell dead at age 52

The singer/songwriter passed away early Thursday morning in Detroit

Paying tribute to a primeval passage
Paying tribute to a primeval passage

Uninterrupted celebrates the Adams River sockeye run in an extraordinary way.

UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds
UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds

In the past, the music festival located in Pemberton drew large crowds last year of 180,000 fans

Photo by: WeissPaarz.com
Medical wait times cost B.C. patients $2,300 each

New Fraser Institute report places B.C. at second worst in costs associated with long wait times

UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert
UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert

Witnesses reported hearing two loud bangs coming from near the arena’s bars at about 10:35 p.m.

A university study finds that about nine per cent of Canada’s Grade 11 and 12 students – roughly 66,000 teens – have driven within an hour of drinking and 9.4 per cent drove after using marijuana.                                 Photo: Now-
Leader file
One in three Canadian high school students have rode with drinking drivers, study reveals

Nearly one in five rode with a driver who’d been smoking pot

Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records
Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records

A lower court judge ruled to destroy the stories after 15 years unless consent is given to preserve

Most Read