Man who can't walk given walking papers at hospital
A 32-year-old London man who suffered a blood infection, which led to a coma and paralysis, is being kicked out of Parkwood Hospital, even though he can't yet walk.
In February, Jeff DeMelo, who is a crane operator, had a blood infection and it led to several months in intensive care.
DeMelo is being pushed out of the hospital and into his home, where he will become his wife's responsibility.
“My progress here has been pretty good. Every day, it’s something different. Every day, I'm making gains,” he says.
He was admitted to Parkwood on July 2 and was able to regain his speech. He can move his fingers and arms slightly, but that progress is about to end because of a decision made two months ago.
“I was just surprised they had the discharge date. I wasn't even here for a month. It was two weeks and they already said, ‘Discharge date for Oct. 1,’” Jeff says.
Since arriving at Parkwood, he's done two hours of therapy a day, but that all ends when he leaves.
The DeMelos have insurance to cover 12 physiotherapy sessions. That’s essentially, the same amount of therapy he would receive at Parkwood over six days.
After that they're on a waiting list for out-patient therapy.
It’s a wait that ranges between two and six months, meaning it will take that much longer for him to heal, go back to work and return to being a dad.
“How is it that they can just send somebody home in the condition that they're in?” he wonders.
DeMelo's condition means he needs two staff to turn him twice a night and two staff and a mechanical lift to move him out of bed. He needs help with feeding, dressing and raising his arms.
It’s help his wife can't deliver, especially not with three small boys at home.
“Once a patient has reached a point where their needs mean hospital care is not required and we are able to transition that individual into the community and to have their needs met in the community, than a decision around discharge is made,” says Roy Butler, the hospital’s vice president of quality and clinical support.
The DeMelos are hoping to be approved for home care, which provides care for six to eight hours per day.
They’ve asked the hospital to extend Jeff’s time there to allow him to continue his therapy.
A doctor said they'd be happy to re-admit him in four months. Meanwhile, the hospital confirms there are empty beds in the ward.
“It’s bad enough he has the stress of physiotherapy every day and what he's going through, but then there's this on top of everything and this shouldn't be a problem. We live in Canada; we shouldn't have to be faced with this,” Tania says.
The Minister of Health is now looking into the situation.