87-Year-Old Woman – Suffering After A Heart Attack – Waits Nine Hours For Help In An Overcrowded Welland Hospital

“The last Conservative government fired 6000 nurses and closed 28 hospitals. The Liberals have shortchanged hospitals in every budget for 15 years. … We have to stop choosing between bad and worse when it comes to health care.” – Niagara, Ontario area MPP Cindy Forster

News from the Constituency Office of Welland (Niagara Centre Riding) MPP Cindy Forster

Posted March 2nd, 2018 on Niagara At Large

An outrageously long wait for a suffering 87-year old in an overcrowded Welland, Niagara hospital

Niagara, Ontario – Donna Thompson, an 87-year-old Welland woman, suffered a heart attack and was rushed to Welland hospital Tuesday (February 27th), where she waited for nine hours in a wheelchair in a crowded hallway, thanks to hospital overcrowding.

Welland MPP Cindy Forster questioned Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals this March 1st at Queen’s Park about the ongoing crowding crisis and the government’s inaction.

Simmonds’ wait in the emergency department hallway – sitting upright in a wheelchair despite the heart attack and arthritis in her back – was because the hospital was so overcrowded that there were no stretchers available for her to lay down.

“Donna was in severe pain for those nine hours. She has arthritis in her back. The chair was too big, and she was stationed by the busy triage area under a phone,” said Forster.

“Hospital overcrowding is a real issue in this province, stories like Donna’s show us that – and I hear them almost every day. How can the premier continue to pretend that everything is fine in our hospitals when she is confronted with a case like Donna’s?”

Simmonds is still in the emergency ward at Welland hospital waiting to be moved to one of two possible floors for further treatment. Her daughter Leslie says that no one should have to go through what her mom went through – and Forster agreed, saying the crisis has been decades in the making, but can be fixed.

“The last Conservative government fired 6000 nurses and closed 28 hospitals. The Liberals have shortchanged hospitals in every budget for 15 years, including $300 million in this budget alone,” said Forster.

“Kathleen Wynne is carrying on the Conservative tradition of cutting health care services for Ontario families, and it has to stop. We have to stop choosing between bad and worse when it comes to health care.”

Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath has promised that an NDP government will end the hospital overcrowding crisis by ensuring funding keeps pace with inflation, population growth and the unique needs of communities.

 She will stop the cuts to front-line health care workers and introduce truly universal pharmacare – a drug plan that covers everyone, regardless of age or income – which is a proactive way to keep Ontarians healthier, reducing stress on emergency rooms.

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“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

4 responses to “87-Year-Old Woman – Suffering After A Heart Attack – Waits Nine Hours For Help In An Overcrowded Welland Hospital

  1. Gary Screaton Page

    Are Patients or the Health System in Ontario Sicker?

    Insane isn’t it? Ontario is not a poor province. True, our Liberals have wasted billions by spending in the wrong places. Consider just the computer issues encountered by both federal and provincial Liberal governments. Indeed, wonder who in fact got those contracts and how much have they contributed to Liberal coffers. However, we are still a rich province. But, I digress.

    A 9-hour wait for treatment for a heart attack is absurd and negligent. I, for one, only had to wait four hours when I was having my heart attack and arrive at the Welland emergency dept. That’s when I also had to accept the nurse taking my blood work in the waiting room. What happened to patient privacy? Has it gone, too? Indeed, on one occasion a hospital worker was wanting to catheterize my wife, in the hallway no less!

    The billion or so dollars lost on the infamous hydro project could surely have been better used for hiring more nurses and adding hospital beds than for a hydro project that was never to be completed. And, I wonder, who got that billion? How much did THEY contribute to Liberal coffers? Where are our Woodword and Berstein when you need them?

    The next election cannot come soon enough. Never has there been such a need for change in government in Ontario. We will see it next election IF (because of the mess our health system is in) we live so long!

    I just might run for office, again, IF I live so long!


  2. Linda McKellar

    Gary – I apologize for the treatment you received and for this poor lady!

    NINE HOURS!!!! Excuse my French but, as a former triage nurse, who in hell was the triage nurse? Why did she not do an EKG immediately, even if she had to do it in the triage room or on the Xray table in the ER? It would not be ideal but it could even be done with the lady in a chair. What kind of assessment did she receive? Was there nobody in one of the occupied beds who was not critical that could have been placed in a wheelchair even for ten minutes to assess and diagnose this woman and begin any treatment necessary? Treatment of a coronary at the earliest possible moment is vital….time is muscle, in this case heart muscle. The woman’s age also should not be a factor. A human is a human and deserves treatment and comfort whether 20 or 90.

    Mr Page should not have had to wait four hours either. Whenever anyone complains of symptoms that could be cardiac, regardless if they eventually turn out to be pulmonary, muscular, traumatic or even anxiety, heart involvement must be ruled out immediately and some way should have found to assess the person properly, even if by temporarily displacing another sick person who was less acute. Of course I do not know the facts because I was not there.

    There are two problems here. One is the shortage of funding, resulting in bed and staff shortages and secondarily, it sounds like inappropriate assessment (likely due to the overloaded conditions) if this story is as presented. More needs to be known about the case to judge objectively. Perhaps the cardiac event was days old and thus immediate treatment would have been ineffective in reversing it but we don’t know that from our vantage point. Regardless, she should have been given comfort and privacy as much as possible so stress and pain did not exacerbate her condition. If the condition was acute and ongoing, her treatment was unconscionable.

    I am ashamed to admit I was a nurse and the reason I retired early was specifically because I just couldn’t deal with this kind of nonsense any longer and the physical and emotional toll it was taking. I would come home after 12 or 14 hours, having not had a meal all day (or night), exhausted and totally deflated because I knew I was not able to do everything I was trained to do and wanted to do for my patients. There was not even time to form a relationship and trust between the nurse/doctor/patient/family. Many other experienced and caring nurses have retired or moved to less stressful areas for the same reasons often casting less experienced neophytes into situations they are not prepared for. That is not their fault. Most do the best they can with limited resources. At this rate NOBODY will even go into nursing as a career any more. That will exacerbate the problem even further.

    The doctors in an ER are also burned out and have only a few minutes to assess a patient because patients just keep coming into the ER whether it’s full or not. The doors can’t be closed. When the floors are at capacity, there is no place to send people who are admitted so they end up in halls (a fire hazard), store rooms and closets with no equipment for an emergency and no privacy.. It’s a domino effect. Part of this is due to hospital closures and amalgamation and even closure of floors that are available but unused to save money and staff ….at the patient’s expense. There are not enough palliative, chronic care and elder care facilities so people who need a nursing home are filling acute care hospital beds. What is the wait for a nursing home? Months! Ontario has fewer beds per capita that every other province.

    An election isn’t going to change anything unless we completely get rid of the old dead wood at Queen’s Park. Skewer them for their waste and make them get their priorities straight. Who deserves better pay, facilities and treatment, people who save lives or people who sit in a government office spending money giving out cushy CEO patronage jobs to family and friends, massive retirement payouts (I didn’t get ANY payout after 40 years) failed white elephant projects and other nonsense? Fewer chiefs, more Indians. In ye olden days when dragons roamed the earth, we never had clip board pushers and bean counters around every corner and things worked just fine!


    • Gary Screaton Page

      Linda, you are a casualty of a broken system. Nurses like you we cannot afford to lose. I am confident the lady’s issue is as reported. I had a much shorter wait but by the time I got the help I needed, 20% of my heart was damaged I am told. Had I not been in otherwise pretty good shape I may not have made it at all.
      When in North York with chest pains, I was immediately taken in — virtually no wait. The problem, fortunately, was not at that time cardiac. I’m glad they did not take the chance. The Welland visit was a heart attack. Yet, I was very clear about chest pains. An added problem is a history of gastric problems but one, as a professional medical person, ought not to assume because a patient has gastric issues the current problem cannot be a heart attack. Mine was.
      I later had a second episode and was protesting being sent home. One doctor, under supervision, aggravated her supervisor by asking a cardiac specialist to check on me. He did not send me home but ordered an echo cardiogram. I had a blood clot in my heart: the second such clot.
      On yet another occasion, a contract doctor told me to go home despite being brought to the hospital in pain and still unable to stand. He was wrong: I had a bowel infection. At an earlier time that same doctor ordered an X-ray of a kidney I don’t have.
      There are problems, indeed! This election, if we are wise, we will start to fix them by first fixing Queen’s Park.
      Thank you, Linda!!


  3. Other news outlets say she attended the hospital for severe stomach pains. You claim it was a heart attack. Can you clarify where you received the information regarding her diagnosis?
    A Note from NAL publisher Doug Draper to Greg Hammer – Thanks for you comment and your question. MPP Cindy Forster, who is a nurse and has good sources in the health system, and her staff prepared this news release based on their own investigation of the matter, and contact with the patient’s family. In the media reports sing a little from a heart attack or appearance of a heart attack, or a flu illness that also may have strained the heart. Whatever the case, nine hours is a very long time to keep an old person waiting, and the flu can be potentially lethal for a person that old, (as I understand it, as well, from my own experience with elderly family members) if it isn’t dealt with in a proper manner, as soon as possible. The Health System also sent out a statement to one media outlet, expressing its own concern about the wait and explain that the hospital system in Niagara has been overburdened with patients recently.
    In summary, the complaint was never aimed at the hospital, but at the senior level of governments that, arguably, are underfunding our hospitals and health care system.
    Doug Draper, Niagara At Large


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