Dodie “Ruth” Anderson passed away at Shuswap Lake General Hospital on Dec. 14, 2020. (Submitted)

Dodie “Ruth” Anderson passed away at Shuswap Lake General Hospital on Dec. 14, 2020. (Submitted)

Family of woman who died in Salmon Arm hospital questions access to isolated patients

Dodie Anderson was suffering the effects of COVID-19 and a serious fall when she passed away Dec. 14

The family of a Salmon Arm woman who died in hospital is questioning the lack of access and communication they had during their mother’s final days, but are also praising the conduct of healthcare workers in the face of the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Dec. 14 Dodie ‘Ruth’ Anderson passed away at Shuswap Lake General Hospital at age 92, after suffering both a fall and COVID-19.

Read More: Sicamous RCMP investigate suspicious death of woman early New Year’s Day

Read More: Okanagan city included among best places to visit post-pandemic

Anderson’s daughter Susan Harris described the loss of her mother, without the ability to visit her, as absolutely devastating. She sympathizes with the many families who have gone through the loss of a loved one during the pandemic.

Although Anderson had been diagnosed with COVID-19 while living at the Lakeside Manor retirement residence, which has seen several COVID-19 cases, Harris said she believes trauma from the fall played a larger role in her mother’s death than the virus.

At the start of her mother’s hospitalization, Harris faced challenges getting information on her condition. She said she was regularly calling the nurses’ station, and received little information. She recognized they were extremely busy, and was eventually able to speak with doctors and provide input on her mother’s care.

Both Harris and Anderson worked in the medical field. Harris said she understands the demands placed on hospital employees and sees how they have only increased due to COVID-19. She noted that serious health issues like heart attacks and strokes do not stop happening, adding pressure on hospitals already challenged by the virus.

Read More: 4 dead after helicopter crashes in northern Alberta

Read More: Snapshot: Brave swimmers perform polar plunge in Shuswap Lake

Harris was eventually able to get her mother’s cell phone to her in the hospital and was able to speak with assistance from nurses.

The fragile communication link over the six days Anderson spent in the hospital led Harris to reflect on families who don’t have access to cell phones. She suggested the possibility of a phone company collecting refurbished cellphones for hospitals to ensure family members could communicate with their hospitalized relatives.

The lack of access to her mother in her final days has impeded Harris and her family’s ability to grieve.

“You’re left empty, just absolutely empty,” Harris said.

Nevertheless, she noted the compassion and sympathy of Dr. Kevin Goldberg and Dr. Adriaan Heunis in particular.

Harris and her family are planning a celebration of life for Anderson in late spring 2021. In the meantime, donations in Anderson’s name can be made to St. Mary’s church in Sorrento or St. John’s church in Salmon Arm where she was a faithful parishioner. Harris said cards and condolences can be mailed to Anderson’s family care of Lakeside Manor.



jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
253 new COVID-19 cases, 4 more deaths in Interior Health over the weekend

More than 1,000 cases in the region remain active

The BC CDC data for Jan. 3-9. (BC CDC Photo)
Golden adds 7 cases in first week of 2021; BC CDC

The numbers are down from 14 the week before

Justin Kripps of Summerland and his team have competed in Olympic action and World Cup competitions in bobsleigh. (Jason Ransom-Canadian Olympic Comittee).
QUIZ: Are you ready for some winter sports?

It’s cold outside, but there are plenty of recreation opportunities in the winter months

A map released by the BCCDC on Jan. 15 shows the number of new COVID-19 cases reported for each local health area between Jan. 3 and 9. (BCCDC Image)
Salmon Arm and Vernon see increase in new COVID cases, curve flattening elsewhere

The rate of new cases is levelling off in Kelowna, Penticton and Revelstoke.

A juvenile sturgeon in a B.C. rearing facility. The wild population in the Upper Columbia is estimated at 1,100 individuals, enhanced with roughly 5,500 hatchery fish. (file photo)
B.C.’s Upper Columbia sturgeon endure long battle with local extinction

Decades of monitoring and intervention is ongoing to save the prehistoric fish

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

Interior Health confirms vaccination of priority populations has begun in Salmon Arm. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccinations underway in Salmon Arm

Interior Health confirms vaccination of priority populations has begun

This is the location, 3240 Skaha Lake Road, of where BC Housing plans to build a four storey supportive housing project for the homeless and at risk of being homeless. (Jesse Day Western News)
Penticton mayor and MLA concerned about new BC Housing project

‘Penticton already has its fair share’ of BC Housing projects

Interior Health declared the COVID-19 outbreak at McKinney Place long term care home over Monday, Jan. 18, 2020. (File photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at McKinney Place care home declared over

‘This has been one of our most challenging outbreaks so far,’ says chief medical health officer

Penticton Bylaw officer Glenn Smith, as well as resident Zak Laycock (not pictured), received the Governor General Award from the Royal Canadian Humane Association to recognize their heroism in a summer 2019 incident. (Contributed)
Bylaw officer and Penticton resident given awards for intervening in sexual assault

Bylaw officer Glenn Smith said he was simply in the right place at the right time

Sunnybank
COVID-19 related deaths at Oliver, West Kelowna and Vernon senior care homes

Sunnybank, Heritage Retirement Residence and Noric House recorded deaths over the weekend

Hillview Elementary students Emma Li and Mina Nadeau were awarded by the Premier’s office for winning the annual holiday card contest. (Karen Rogers photo)
North Okanagan students’ art featured on Premier’s cards

Hillview youth chosen for annual holiday card contest

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

Most Read