Bette Vanee, 78, lies in her bed at the Listowel Memorial Hospital where she is recovering from her heart surgery at St. Mary's General Hospital in Kitchener. © Submitted by Randy Vanee Bette Vanee, 78, lies in her bed at the Listowel Memorial Hospital where she is recovering from her heart surgery at St. Mary’s General Hospital in Kitchener.

A Waterloo, Ont., man is ‘livid’ after his mother was transferred to the wrong hospital for her scheduled heart surgery earlier this week and hopes by speaking out, other patients won’t also end up on an extra long ride in the back of a Voyago medical transportation van.

Bette Vanee, 78, of Atwood, Ont., was scheduled for cardiac ablation surgery — a procedure she waited 18 months for — at St. Mary’s General Hospital in Kitchener and was awaiting medical transport from her home hospital in Listowel on Wednesday morning. 

But instead of taking Vanee to Kitchener, the Voyago transport team took her to the hospital in St. Marys, Ont.


Load Error

“They opened the doors to take her out and and she noticed that it wasn’t the right place,” said Randy, 55, a Waterloo-based truck driver. “It was a 78-year-old lady with a heart condition laying on a gurney to tell the drivers that she was in the wrong spot.”

“I thought at the least, they had papers there as to where I was going,” said Bette, who is now recovering from her surgery in Listowel. “They looked at it after I was in St. Marys and I said, ‘No, I’m supposed to be going to St. Mary’s in Kitchener.'”

Error made on drop-down menu in booking system

Voyago has the contract to do the majority of the non-urgent patient transportation in southwestern Ontario, including Listowel Memorial Hospital, said Karl Ellis, the president and CEO of the Listowel Wingham Hospitals Alliance.

“There was a mistake made yesterday in the booking of a non-urgent patient transport from the Listowel Memorial Hospital as a result of choosing the incorrect destination hospital on a web-site drop down-list. We are continuing our investigation and will be making improvement suggestions for the booking process,” said Ellis.

Risked missing schedule surgery

Bette was two hours late arriving at the right hospital and missed her scheduled surgery time.

“Fortunately for her, the procedure that was prior to hers took a lot longer.” said Randy. Bette was able to get her surgery later in the day.

“They got me there but I hope that doesn’t happen too often,” said Bette.

“How would you mix that up? If you’re a medical transport company, you’re going to know that St. Mary’s Hospital in Kitchener is the heart place,” said Randy.

“Why would they take you from one small town to another small town?” he said.

“I would personally challenge that. I’m a truck driver. If I didn’t think it looked right, I would say something about it just to find out. But these guys didn’t do that.”

Randy hasn’t filed an official complaint yet. He says he needs to “cool off’ before he does.

“We are aware of the exceptional incident and recognize our staff made an error and as soon as it was discovered it was corrected,” said Voyago spokesperson, Chuck Archer.

“Our staff is trained with the highest standards,” he said. “Unfortunately, a human mistake was made as there are two St. Mary’s hospitals within a close proximity and we regret the error on our part.” 

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