With government health care, sometimes you can’t go home again

Rodmond Huska, a man from Winnipeg, Manitoba, became ill with a bladder infection in May while visitng Colorado. He passed away on June 24, still in Colorado.

Why didn’t Rodmond go home? Winnipeg hospitals had no bed to put him in. Instead of spending his last month with family and friends, Rodmond and his family spent it fighting with Manitoba’s health care system so that he could go home.

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When his condition stabilized in early June, the family tried to move him to a Winnipeg hospital but were told there were no open beds for him. Rodmond died June 24.

Huska said her son, who was born with spina bifida and had health problems, told her he felt the Manitoba health system turned its back on him.

“That’s what he kept telling our family and our friends — that he just wanted to go home and there was no room,” she said. “It’s hard when somebody asks me how my son is and I have to tell them he passed away and then they say, ‘Was it here?’ and I say, ‘No, it was in Colorado.’ And they ask why, and I say, ‘Because we had no room here for him.’”

Bed shortages are a common problem in the Canadian system that contribute to many other problems, including emergency room waiting times (an average of 23 hours if you’re sick enough to be admitted) and the inability of some hospitals to accept patients, as happened with Mr. Huska.

Huska [Rodmond's mother] said the family is now facing the costs it incurred transporting other family members out to spend time with Rodmond, as well as the costs of her own extended stay in Colorado.

“Rodmond only wanted to come home and see his family and friends one more time, but instead he was totally abandoned,” she said. “We pay our taxes. We did everything we were supposed to do. This should never have been allowed to happen.

“If sharing his story moves the government to finally fix the health-care system like they said they would 10 years ago, then I will fight this last battle for him.”