A 24-year-old man was twice sent home from Maple Ridge’s hospital, despite suffering from broken vertebrae.
Brendan Post, a local resident, said he was sent home from the emergency room in Ridge Meadows Hospital twice on April 2 and 3, but later that week was admitted to Royal Columbian Hospital, and spent four nights there.
He is now being treated to keep what he is told is a permanently bent spine from getting worse.
His painful ordeal started March 31, when he was mountain biking at the series of trails known as The Woodlot. A poorly executed jump saw him go over his handlebars and land on his head.
If he hadn’t been wearing a helmet, Post thinks he would have died.
When he could breathe normally, he still had to lay on the ground, unable to get up. His friends determined that he could wiggle his toes, and had feeling in his legs. But it was an hour before he could get to his feet and walk.
It was the worst pain he’s felt in his life.
“I thought I had pulled a whole bunch of muscles,” Post said.
He had a restless night of sleep at home. His parents were away, so he was alone. Monday he went to a walk-in clinic and got a prescription for anti-inflammatory drugs.
On Tuesday, the pain was still severe, and Post went to the emergency department at Ridge Meadows Hospital. He had X-rays taken. Post said a doctor saw something that was not definite and asked him to return the next day for a CT scan. Post said he was prescribed muscle relaxants and painkillers.
Wednesday, Post returned for a CT scan. He waited in the ER for an estimated four to five hours.
Post was diagnosed with fractures in his T6, T7 and T11 vertebrae, then given a prescription for a thuracolumbar brace, and told to follow up with a doctor in casting.
He also had a small fracture in his scapula.
He said he was not admitted to the hospital.
Post said he was surprised to be walking and driving himself around, given his diagnosis.
He went to a Coquitlam orthotist for a brace and was advised to go to the ER at Royal Columbian Hospital.
Post’s parents, Peggy and Ray Post, were vacationing in Costa Rica. He had said he would pick them up on Thursday when their plane landed.
He met them at the airport as promised, but told them: “Don’t hug me, my back is broken.”
That Friday at 6 a.m., his parents took him to Royal Columbian. He said a physician looked at his CT scan and told him to lie down and not get out of bed until further instructed.
He said a new CT scan was performed, and the doctor conferred with an orthopedic surgeon about the best course of action.
Post was admitted to hospital for four days.
He was examined for possible internal injuries, and had his liver and kidney functions tested.
Post said Royal Columbian team’s focus is to keep his vertebrae from collapsing further, to have them heal as close to straight as possible. But he said he will always stoop forward, at least slightly.
Post is back home, but has been limited to five-minute walks, five times a day. The rest of the time he tries to relax.
His father Ray is a former on-call firefighter and said an injury like his son’s should have required a spinal board rescue.
His mother Peggy has written letters of complaint to both Fraser Health and MLA Bob D’Eith (Maple Ridge-Mission), and is awaiting a response.
Dr. Neil Barclay, Emergency Network Regional Medical Director for Fraser Health, offered a statement.
“We work very hard to ensure our patients receive excellent, timely care every time they come into one of our emergency departments. I’m sorry to hear this family feels this was not the case for them,” he said.
“We have reviewed the care they received and consulted physicians from both sites. The care plans were safe, appropriate and similar and would have ultimately had the same outcome.
“We understand the family continues to have questions about the care their loved one received, and their physician will be speaking with them in the coming days to address them. We are committed to working with them to resolve any further concerns they may have.”
Post said he will be off work for a minimum of six months from his job, in special effects in the movie industry.
A GoFundMe page has been set up by his friends.