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Woman repeatedly sent home from Langley Memorial Hospital actually needed emergency surgery

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Three times she went to Langley Memorial Hospital's emergency room for help.

Three times, she said, she was sent home.

But it turned out Trista Mandzuk, 39, did indeed desperately need help.

She would later require emergency surgery and receive a devastating diagnosis.

Mandzuk said she first went to LMH in late November.

“I was very sick. I was throwing up a lot. Very nauseous, had a lot of stomach pain. I was definitely dizzy. My vision was blurry,” Mandzuk said in an interview with CTV News.

“Our friend was with Trista and she was crying to the hospital staff, saying, 'Please help her, something’s not right. You can not release her like this.' And they did anyways,” said Tonya Heppell, Trista’s sister.

Heppell said they didn’t want to give up. So, after being released from Langley Memorial for a third day in a row, family sent Mandzuk to Surrey Memorial.

Heppell said her sister lay down on the floor in the ER waiting area for more than 10 hours before she got help.

“I was in so much pain. I was trying to sit down. I couldn’t do it. I needed to lie down,” said Mandzuk.

When Mandzuk was finally seen by doctors, her dire condition started to become clear.

“The nurse came on the phone, and the doctor as well, and they told me she had a massive brain bleed and she was being rushed to Royal Columbian for emergency surgery,” Heppell said.

“They put her in an induced coma before they put her in the ambulance,” she explained, adding that Mandzuk was in the coma for several days.

Once she was in surgery, doctors discovered a brain tumour the size of a golf ball.

She told CTV News she has been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer.

“What I’m hearing is I’m going to be needing aggressive radiation and chemotherapy,” Mandzuk explained.

As she battles for her life, she’s angry at the initial lack of care.

“I definitely don’t feel like I was treated like a person. More like an animal, just judged,” she said.

Now, she and her family are speaking out, hoping it will bring change.

“It’s just really frustrating and I obviously don’t want this to happen to other people because I almost died,” said Mandzuk.

Her sister is also angry.

“It breaks my heart. It really frustrates me because not only was she crying and begging for help, but family was too and no one was listening. I’m angry. We’re all angry,” Heppell said.

She thinks a combination of problems contributed to what she said is another failure of B.C.’s health-care system.

“The hospitals are definitely understaffed. People are definitely treated as a number … I definitely think if they lifted the (vaccination) mandates we’d have more health-care workers,” she said.

In response to an inquiry by CTV News, Fraser Health said in an email that it will connect directly with the patient.

"The concerns ... you have brought forward regarding this patient’s care experience are troubling and we are looking into what happened,” the email said.

The family intends to file a formal complaint with Fraser Health.

Mandzuk remains a patient at Royal Columbian Hospital, where she said the care has been good. She said she will need more tests before doctors can determine what’s next in her treatment.

Her family has started an online fundraiser to help her.  

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