Family of 68-year-old COVID-19 patient asks why she was sent to hotel instead of hospital

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When 68-year-old Darlene Dick of Ahousaht First Nation first went to a clinic for a COVID-19 test, she was sent away with assurances it was just a cold.

When she got so sick that she had to go to Tofino, where she was told she had tested positive for the virus, her family thought she would finally get the care she needed. Instead, Dick was sent alone to a hotel room, something her family is struggling to understand.

When Dick was eventually admitted to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, she was placed in the intensive care unit, where she is slowly recovering 10 days later. “The way they treated her was totally inhumane,” said Dick’s daughter, Ina Dick. “You would never want to see your mom treated like this.”

Island Health has acknowledged that Dick’s care fell below expectations and said it is reviewing her case.

Two days after Dick first went to the Ahousaht medical clinic on Nov. 26 with a sore throat and minor fever, her condition worsened to chills, sweats, cramping and soreness all over her body, along with vomiting. Dick was too weak to eat and in too much pain to sleep, Ina said.

The family decided she needed to go to hospital, so on Nov. 28, Dick took a water taxi to Tofino General Hospital, where she was tested for the virus, but was sent back home to await the results.