Television system at local hospital not working for weeks

EVANSTON: The television system serving the Strait-Richmond Hospital was out of service since late in December, and the son of one patient wants answers.

Darren Arsenault, who is a member of the Toronto Police Service and a former resident of Cleveland, told The Reporter that his father was transferred to the Evanston health care facility two weeks ago.

After serving as an RCMP officer for 35 years, then another 18 years in Adult Protection, Arsenault said his father suffered a stroke early this month and was initially sent to St. Martha’s Regional Hospital Antigonish.

After his father arrived in Richmond County, Arsenault said he was disappointed to learn that the hospital’s television service has been down since December 30.

Upon hearing from his mother that the system still wasn’t working on Jan. 22, Arsenault contacted the service provider, Health Hub Solutions, which told him the system was working, and if it wasn’t operating fully, the hospital would have to reboot the system.

When that still didn’t work, Arsenault said Health Hub Solutions sent the hospital a pulse from Mississauga to get it up and running.

Again, this didn’t work so Health Hub Solutions told Arsenault they were going to send a pulse from the company’s technical department, then sent him an email confirming that it was done and all the hospital’s TVs are up and running.

After again calling the hospital, Arsenault was told that the system still wasn’t operating.

Keeping in mind each call to Health Hub Solutions takes about 45 minutes, Arsenault again called the Ontario company which then hung up on him.

“Then when I called back, because they hung up, I guess there’s something in place that they blocked my number,” he recalled.

Not only is this a headache for him, and especially patients with few options to occupy their time, Arsenault said this is also a burden on nursing staff.

“You’re annoying the nursing staff now by asking if the TVs are working,” he noted. “They just get a call every two hours from me asking, ‘can you do this,’ and they’re telling me ‘buddy, we already told you these TVs aren’t working.’”

Although it might seem like a small matter for some, Arsenault said it is a big issue for those staying at the hospital for prolonged periods.

“It gives you something to look forward to, something to occupy an idle mind,” he noted. “These patients are deteriorating just from lying in your own thoughts.”

Arsenault spoke with Health Hub Solutions last week, and was told the problem would be fixed in 48 hours, but after three days, they remained inoperable.

“No one has even contacted the hospital,” he said. “No one has come out to service those televisions.”

Nova Scotia Health Authority spokesperson Brendan Elliot told The Reporter that the system has been out of order since Dec. 30 after a short power outage.

“We have been in frequent contact with Health Hub Solutions…” he said. “They have advised us that from their remote investigation it is not an issue with the cable provider but rather an issue with the amplifier in our building.”

On Feb. 11 Arsenault confirmed that technicians dispatched by Hub Health Canada were at the hospital and determined that the culprit was a damaged module. He added that the problem was fixed the next day.

“(That) should have been an easy fix,” he added.