Inadequate mental health services. Women left to miscarry in ER waiting rooms. Prisoners denied their prescribed medications. Seniors in long term care served up cans of spaghettios. Botched lab results. Confidentiality breaches. Missed benchmarks. Life threatening wait times. Cutbacks. And on and on.
Enough is enough.
EasternHell.com (a.k.a. HellCareNL.com) is a website for speaking out about the state of Health Care in Newfoundland and Labrador. The purpose of this website is to highlight patient perspectives by capturing stories of real patient experiences. It is hoped that shining a light on these experiences will generate awareness leading to effective change. It is time for solutions, time to fix that which is broken. It is time for health care reform that results in comprehensive, patient-centred care and accessible services for everyone.
All people deserve quality health care. If you did not receive quality care from any branch of the health care system in Newfoundland and Labrador we want to hear from you. If you are health care worker and you have a story or insight to share, we welcome your input. One thing is clear from the messages we are receiving – patients are not the only people suffering in our health care system. Left to work in poorly resourced facilities, under an administration that does not listen, many health care workers are burning out. This impacts patient care in a very direct way
Our first stories have been posted – visit the Your Stories link to read them. To share your story and have it become a part of the easternhell.com website please contact us. You do not need to give us any identifying information if you don’t want to – we are interested only in your experiences with the health care system. Your anonymity will be protected. For more information check the Tell Us Your Story page. To submit a story or concern please send an email anytime to: email@example.com.
Why Eastern Hell?
This website began as one person’s way of dealing with the frustrations of years of trying to work with a system that is broken. Since then others have joined the discussion. EasternHell.com also meets with a group of concerned citizens who are working towards a larger movement calling for:
* The implementation of policies and new strategies that ensure comprehensive care and dignity for patients in every corner of the health care system with immediate attention given to Senior’s Care and to resources and supports for Juveniles and for Persons with Disabilities.
The group is also exploring the formation of an independent, arms-length Patient Advocacy Group to advocate for patients on an individual case-by-case basis as well as advocating for comprehensive patient-centred care for all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. Media Releases will follow in the coming weeks.
If you would like to become involved please contact us – firstname.lastname@example.org
A Message from EasternHell.com’s Creator
It has taken me a long time to prepare and launch this site. When your health or the health or life of a loved one is at risk in a hospital setting you are left feeling helpless, vulnerable and afraid. It is often very difficult to talk about these experiences because they are so painful. Once the crisis passes, the last thing you want to do is dwell on what happened. So I know that asking for these stories is asking a great deal.
I was driven to take action when my partner’s life-threatening infection was disregarded over and over again by Eastern Health staff in both the St. Clares and Health Sciences emergency rooms. At this same time my family was practically begging Eastern Health for help for our elderly parents who were both in need of professional care. Despite the fact that our family called everybody under the sun, home care support (or any kind of support) for my parents was non-existent. The past two years of trying to work with the system to get help for my loved ones can only be described as an epic journey to the seventh circle of hell. Every day I encounter news items and other people with their own horror stories. It is time for me to speak up and I know that there are many other people out there who have also been harmed by the procedures and policies of Eastern Health (Just have a look at the News Watch Page!).
If you have a story to tell please consider speaking out – if not here then in the papers, on the radio, your own social media sites and blogs. If we allow our health care system to remain on its same course of cutbacks and facility-centred service we are doomed to endure no end of preventable tragedies. The sharing of such personal stories can be challenging and complicated – so I understand if people are not ready (it has taken me awhile to get here) – but I want anyone who has suffered because of poor medical care or lack of access to basic health care resources to know that I support you, I care about what happened to you, other people care and you are not alone.
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Since our launch in January of 2014 the Eastern Hell website has received over 53,000 individual visitors. Though the vast majority of visitors are from Canada (presumably a majority from NL) we’ve had viewers from 85 different countries. These visitors have read from the 60 posted pages over 165,000 times. On average, EasternHell.com receives 1,350 visitors per day and on our busiest day we hosted 24,280 visitors.
EasternHell.com created categories of recurrent issues in order to compile useful statistics. Here is a breakdown of each category with the percentage of story contributors who referenced each issue:
EMERGENCY ROOMS – 68% (in particular the St. Clare’s and Health Sciences ERs and ER services in Central Health facilities).
EASTERN HEALTH – 64% (note: many contributors did not identify the region or facility)
INSENSITIVITY – 58%
LACK OF RESPECT AND COMPASSION – 50%
NOT LISTENING – 44%
MISDIAGNOSIS – 40%
LACK OF FOLLOW UP CARE – 38%
NEGLECT – 34%
UNDER-STAFFING – 22%
SENIOR’S CARE – 20% (This mostly references Senior’s Care Homes. Many of the Emergency Room stories involve Seniors but this is not represented accurately in this figure)
SAFETY CONCERNS – 18%
POOR WORKING CONDITIONS – 16%
WAIT TIMES – 12%
LACK OF CLEANLINESS – 12%
PATIENT PROFILING – 12%
INSUFFICIENT NUTRITION – 10%
LACK OF MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES – 8%
PATIENT SHAMING – 8%
AMBULANCE EXPERIENCE – 8%
CONFIDENTIALITY – 4%
ADDICTION SERVICES – 4%
RACISM – 2%
Sharing our experiences can help to bridge the isolation that often comes with injury or illness. Our shared stories can also inform and teach us, including those working in healthcare. In reading the stories posted on this site the voices of the storytellers are crystal clear. The average patient is very knowledgeable about his or her health issues and wants something very simple: to have their concerns addressed respectfully, in a professional and timely manner. Our first statistics demonstrate that for many people using Healthcare Services in Newfoundland and Labrador, these very basic expectations are not being met.
Combined with the personal stories posted here, these statistics paint a detailed picture of some of the darkest corners of our health care system. Perhaps most apparent are two main areas in need of immediate addressing: Emergency Room Care (with special attention given to women in labour, persons with disabilities, persons with mental illness, persons with addictions and to seniors) and: Care of Seniors (in particular within hospital settings and in pockets of the personal home care system).
While Emergency Room care and Eastern Health itself are referenced in a majority of the stories what is perhaps more revealing are the statistics that come next – also referenced in a majority of stories - Insensitivity, Lack of Respect and Compassion, Not Listening. It is no surprise that Misdiagnosis follows directly after this cluster. Neither is it a coincidence that Neglect and Under-Staffing turn up side by side other on this list.
These stories and statistics illuminate our system’s problems while simultaneously offering avenues for solutions. Currently there appears to be a culture of Insensitivity and Neglect pervading our Emergency Rooms. This attitude leaks into many areas of healthcare, often manifesting as poor quality care for groups who are less able to speak up for themselves, such as Senior citizens. This Culture of Insensitivity and Neglect is compounded by a lack of resources , a shortage of appropriate staff and a convoluted system of checks and balances. For some insight please also see this very Useful Article written for Eastern Hell by a caregiver with years of experience navigating the language of the Personal Care Home system). To gain understanding of the toll that the deficiencies in our system take on the lives of the people of this province – please Read The Patient Stories.
Eastern Hell is so grateful to our contributors and for the wonderful support we have received from all over Newfoundland and Labrador, from around the country and the rest of the world. We encourage people to keep sending us stories and hope that this sharing will lead to better days. We continue to be inspired by the courage of our contributors and thank them for speaking up so that we may all become better informed.