Between 11:00 A.M. and 3:00 P.M. today a rotating group of at times 30 or more strong protested what they believed to be the steady and continuous destruction of our area's healthcare system.
This is the fourth year in a row that Jim Albo has stood outside of the hospital on February 20th. “The first few times it was just me and maybe a friend or two out here. This year I’ve got all kinds of support which is great to see. I think the growing support really tells you what people’s general sentiments around Interior Health are these days. The nurses themselves held a vigil the other night, and I hope there are more protests and displays like this,” said Albo.
Katrine Conroy, MLA for Kootenay West also stopped by to support Albo’s cause. “People need to start talking to their MLAs, mayors, and the Premier and let them know that the terrible deterioration and continuous cuts to our health care system have to stop. If we don’t step up as the people then they’ll never do anything about it.”
This February 20th is the fourth anniversary of Albo’s mother passing away. In 2006 Albo’s mother was 96 years of age. “She was a strong lady and never caused anybody any problem. My mother never took anything from this province. At a time when they needed help, Interior Health let them down. I don’t have anything good to say about Interior Health at all, unfortunately.
"My mother and dad were both in the hospital together. My mother had congenital heart trouble for 35 years. My dad had been trying to take care of her for a while but then he fractured a couple of vertebrae in his back. So both of my parents were in the hospital. One as at one end of the third floor and the other at the other end of the third floor. My dad was healing and doing well. My mother was still in good shape; she had survived cancer three times over 45 years and this outfit killed her in 48 hours.”
Albo’s mother was moved to the Grand Forks hospital “for a lack of beds at KBRH.” Two days after she was separated from her husband, she passed away. Two weeks after that, Albo’s father also passed away. “The doctor said my dad was in good health but he died of a broken heart,” added Albo still visibly shaken by the events.
He stands outside of KBRH in a peaceful protest every year on the anniversary of his mother’s death with a sign that reads “IHA and its policies, killed my parents and the woman responsible still works here.” His hope is that through continued and increased protests and people vocalising their discontent, incidents such as what happened to his parents won’t happen again.
“I can’t do anything to help my parents, although I know they are here with me in this protest. If I can help even just one family not have to go through what my family did than this protest will be worthwhile.”