Short-term solutions needed for ED - Dr. Peter Zalan
May 03, 2012
The Emergency Department (ED) has been in the news almost daily since Dr. Rob Lepage’s letter was published in the Sudbury Star in March.
Last week, it was Dr. Chris Bourdon, Chief of Staff at Health Sciences North. The average wait time is now over 19 hours for the seriously ill. This is the second worst performance for a large volume ED in the province. Why is this happening?
There are no hospital beds for newly admitted patients. Sometimes admitted patients end up in a nursing unit specializing in another area of care. Sometimes they end up in a TV room. Most often, they just stay in the emergency department, sometimes for days, with patients on stretchers in hallways.
Then the new arrivals in ED face the long wait times for assessment because there is just no space to properly examine them.
This situation has caused a number of patients to come to harm. The nurses and physicians involved are devastated. They feel responsible for the welfare of their patients.
I would like to quote Dr. Rob Lepage, medical director of the HSN ED.
“Patients are suffering due to hospital overcrowding. The nurses are leaving the ED which further compromises care, next will be the physicians. I have seen this pattern in the past and I do not want to lose more staff. Things have to change soon.”
Between our hospital, the North East Local Health Integration Network and the ministry, we have seen the introduction of a long list of initiatives in the last three years.
The Ontario government’s plans for a focus on primary and home care initiatives are commendable. The intent is to keep folks healthy and out of hospital. The problem is one of timing. What if things in ED continue to worsen next month and the month thereafter?
The patients, their families and staff feel that they have been abandoned. We need to share their pain. We must find short-term solutions now.
Dr. Peter Zalan
president of Health Sciences North’s medical staff
Posted by Vivian Scinto
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