Overcrowding in Ontario’s Hospitals Another Reason to ‘Get Rid of Dead Wood at Queen’s Park’

 A Comment from Linda McKellar, a Niagara, Ontario resident and retired triage nurse in Niagara

Posted March 4th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

A generic view of a hospital hallway in Ontario overcrowded with patients waiting for a room

(The following is an excerpt from a comment Niagara At Large received from retired triage nurse Linda McKellar in response to a news release NAL posted this March 2nd from the Constituency Office of Welland (Niagara Centre) Riding MPP Cindy Forster about an 87-year-old woman in the region who waited nine hourse in overcrowded conditions at a hospital in Welland, after suffering a heart attack, before there was a stretcher or bed available for her to lay down.)


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. …

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. …

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.

Patients waiting a hallway in an overcrowded hospital somewhere in Ontario

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 treatmen?  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!

To read the news release from Niagara area MPP Cindy Forster that Niagara At Large posted this March 2nd on the nine-hour-wait in an over-crowded hospital hallway,  followed by Linda McKellar’s full comment and other comments  sent in by readers, click on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2018/03/02/87-year-old-woman-suffering-after-a-heart-attack-waits-nine-hours-for-help-in-an-overcrowded-welland-hospital/ .

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space below the Bernie quote.

A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.

For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater binational Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .

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


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