Grieving Victoria husband fighting to have working TVs in hospital rooms

CHEK

Rusten Flynn spent much of the last 18 months at Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital while his late wife, Dawn Stewart, battled cancer.

She lost her fight on June 14, but he’s still fighting for her.

“After knowing what my wife went through, I wouldn’t want to see anyone else go through that, especially in a situation where they are about to pass away. Which my wife, unfortunately, did, on the 14th of June,” Flynn said.

A 30-year B.C. government employee, Flynn says his wife needed the distraction television would provide.

But when she moved into the palliative care unit in the Patient Care Centre, the one thing to help her pass the time, a TV, didn’t work.

“My wife was a thinker. And to have her sit there with no television? It broke my heart,” Flynn said.

“Because all she would have to think about was her cancer and her dying instead of something to take her away from that. And that just killed me.”

Flynn even drew a picture for his wife so she would have something to look at in her room.

HealthHub Solutions maintains and services televisions within Island Health facilities, but Flynn says they told him they couldn’t fix it.

BC United’s health-care critic Shirley Bond says at a time when the healthcare system is under pressure, bringing comfort to patients in the form of a working TV is paramount.

“It may seem small, irrelevant to many people. But if it makes a difference,” Bond said.

“If it brings comfort to the patient, and the family feels that is something that is important, I think those are the kinds of things that rebuild trust in the health-care system.”

In a statement sent to CHEK News, Island Health says it’s aware of concerns with HealthHub Solutions’ TV service and is following up with them to ensure the service is provided as contractually obligated.

Flynn says while it may be too late for his wife, he’s hoping speaking out will help bring more comfort to other families.

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Mary Griffin

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