Concerns have recently been raised by Burns Lake Mountain Biking Association (BLMBA) director Mark Pedersen, when he said an out of town mountain biker from Prince George sustained an injury on Boer Mountain, and was refused proper treatment at the Lakes District Hospital.
While the injury did not occur at the recent Big Pig Mountain Biking Festival, Pedersen said he is concerned that news of the lack of medical care may force others to avoid traveling to Burns Lake for mountain biking events.
He said the biker sustained a gash to his hand that required stitches while riding on the Boer Mountain bike trails.
According to Pedersen, who heard the news from another BLMBA member, the biker went to the Lakes District Hospital emergency room but was reportedly told by hospital staff that they were only treating life threatening injuries.
“The nurse would not wash out the wound because she was not qualified, but did put a bandage on it and sent him on his way.” According to Pedersen, a doctor was not available.
“This type of treatment of injured people in our area is going to jeopardize the fabric of all the work the Burns Lake Mountain Biking Association are doing to attract riders from out of town and if we are not able to provide even basic medical services, I fear this will have very serious consequences,” Pedersen said, adding that the momentum is building for riding in the local area.
Pedersen later said to Lakes District News that BLMBA are just advocating for better health care in the local area. He said anyone can be injured doing all sorts of activities, not just mountain biking and it is difficult to get health care.
“Regardless, the rider received less than optimal health care at the Lakes District Hospital and I hope the situation improves.”
Steve Raper, Northern Health’s communications officer said to Lakes District News that all nurses are trained to wash and dress wounds.
He said the patient’s wound would have been assessed, cleaned and dressed appropriately at the Lakes District Hospital and then the patient would have been sent to another hospital to see a physician if suturing was required.”
That particular weekend, there was a diversion for emergency room coverage.” He explained that a diversion is where a patient is stabilized at the Lakes District Hospital and then sent on to a hospital in Vanderhoof or Prince George for further medical treatment.
“A diversion occurs when there is no physicians available. Diversions are rare and I am not sure why there was a diversion in Burns Lake this particular weekend.”
Lakes District News also spoke to the mountain biker, Hardy Griesbauer to confirm the report.
Griesbauer said he did receive treatment from a nurse at the Lakes District Hospital when he arrived.
“As I understand there was a doctor on duty at the hospital, but he was dealing with a cardiac patient at the time. My injury was definitely not life threatening and the nurse explained to me that they were only treating life threatening injuries at the time.”
He went on to say the nurse was great and did everything she was able to do for him. “I do not want to criticize the doctors or the nurses at the Lakes District Hospital. I had my wound washed out, I was bandaged and I was told there was no point sitting in emergency waiting for stitches and was referred on to Vanderhoof or Prince George. I completely understand, I know there is a doctor shortage in Burns Lake and everyone is over worked.”
He said he left the hospital and went back to the Boer Mountain trails to continue riding. Later in the afternoon he went to Prince George Regional Hospital where he said he received five stitches.
“It was a very minor cut, it was just deep,” he said, adding that he cut the palm of his hand on a sharp rock. “I knew I needed stitches.”
“The nurse in Burns Lake rinsed the cut out, but she could not clean the wound out as she would have had to freeze it … she was not allowed to do that and I understand. She cleaned the wound within her job description. There wasn’t any complications … my hand is fine.”
Griesbauer said this was his first time riding the trails and he will definitely be back.
“This was my first time, but it will not be my last. I enjoyed riding the trails, it was a great experience.”