VGH story

In 2023 I was admitted to VGH (Victoria General Hospital) in BC on three occasions. This is an account of my experience.

VGH no longer accepts direct referrals from GPs or outside specialists; everyone is triaged through the ER. So the advice I received from my registered health clinic was "go to emergency", which I did.

There is usually a staff member at the doing basic triage - taking names and symptoms, and passing them to the admissions desk with your medical card. There are some rather uncomfortable wheelchairs available, looking like a cross with a supermarket trolley, and orange regular chairs. After a short wait depending on urgency, one is called to the admissions desks to give more history and get an ID bracelet. Then there's a possibly longer wait, on blue chairs. There's a display with average wait times (about 5 hours), but not patient names. I was called in about 3 hours with my symptoms of severe muscular weakness (unable to stand).

Once through the doors into the ER proper, someone took my vitals (blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, oxygen level) with an electronic instrument. I was then given a bed in the ER ward - a shared room with privacy curtains. It's also a throughway from admissions to the rest of the hospital, so anyone going for a scan will be wheeled out the far end, and back again. ER being a 24x7 operation, it's pretty noisy at night.

After getting some treatment in the ER ward, I was moved to another ward on a specialty floor. Most of the rooms have 4 beds with privacy curtains, and a shared bathroom. There are a few single rooms, and some beds in the corridors, in marked spots. The corridors are used for less critical patients, which in fact means they'll get less interruptions at night. The corridor lights are turned down at night, and staff try to be quiet, but in the shared rooms some patients need regular wellness checks, or interventions, so staff come in and turn the lights on, and talk.