Injured Squamish senior 'scooped up,' taken to shelter in Abbotsford
The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, October 19, 2014 7:45PM PDT
Last Updated Sunday, October 19, 2014 7:55PM PDT
Vancouver Coastal Health has launched a review of its procedures after a social worker dropped off an injured 75-year-old woman at a shelter more than 100 kilometres from her home.
Barbara Lowery, a 30-year Squamish resident, says she’s still confused about why she was dropped off in Abbotsford several days ago.
“They scooped me up and brought me here, and I don’t know why,” she told CTV News Sunday.
Lowery was staying in a Squamish hotel while searching for a new place to live when she fell down some stairs.
The local hospital checked her over and found nothing wrong. That’s when Lowery says a social worker from Vancouver Coastal Health picked her up and drove her nearly 130 kilometres to Abbotsford in the Fraser Valley.
“I don’t know. She said it was because there were no shelters available in Squamish or Vancouver,” Lowery said. “She didn’t ask me a simple question of ‘Where else can you stay?’ in which case I would’ve said ‘My daughter’s.’”
After she was taken to the Salvation Army in Abbotsford, Lowery continued to complain about pain she was experiencing, and when she was checked out again in an Abbotsford Hospital, she said doctors told her she had broken and bruised ribs.
Vancouver Coastal Health is calling the situation a highly unusual one and says it has launched a review to find out why Lowery was moved so far away, as well as why her fracture wasn’t diagnosed at Squamish General Hospital.
“Normally we would not transfer one of our clients into another health authority unless they were being discharged from hospital and they lived in another health authority,” said Gavin Wilson, director of public affairs for Vancouver Coastal Health. “We’ll just have to look into understanding why this occurred…I understand that a lot of options were looked at.”
Wilson also said that Lowery received X-rays at the Squamish hospital and there was no sign of broken ribs at the time.
“If that happened subsequently, again that’s something we’ll have to take a look at,” he said.
Lowery said she now needs to find temporary shelter because she’s on a fixed pension and won’t have money until she’s next paid.
She said she’s upset that she was driven to Abbotsford without her blessing, but she’s happy to be at the Salvation Army.
“I don’t like that [the social worker] just took control of my life without consulting me, but this is a wonderful place and I’ve been really well taken care of in every respect,” she said.
So far, there are no plans to bring Lowery back to Squamish.
With a report from CTV Vancouver’s St. John Alexander