Canadians deserve the very best in emergency care . Let's work to restore their confidence in the emergency health care system.

WRHA Never Seems to Learn


The following is an unpublished letter to the Winnipeg Free Press in response to today’s article on the WHRA attempting to reduce ED wait times by convincing patients to go else where using a media blitz.

Another misguided attempt to solve a problem by the wrong means. Patient with non-urgent illness are not the root cause of ER crowding. That issue resides solely with either an inappropriate number of acute care beds to meet the needs of a rapidly ageing population, an inappropriate bed utilization and better chronic care.

I simply shake my head. How many times does the WRHA have to be on the front page of the national news with their tepid, dysfunctional approach to crowding.

Crowding matters; it kills innocents.

“Advertising blitz to reduce ER wait times”

For close to ten years I have been following the WRHA’s attempts to solve emergency department crowding and I am constantly amazed at how they can get it so consistently wrong.

Crowded emergency departments are either a result of crowded hospitals due to an insufficient number of acute care beds to meet the needs of a sick and aging population or from the inappropriate utilization of the available beds.

Crowded ERs having nothing to do with overutilization of the departments by patients with non-urgent problems. These patients require little treatment time, little clinical resources and they do not impact on adverse outcomes.

It is the patient waiting in a crowded ER hallway waiting for a bed on the ward who suffers the most both in terms of basic human dignity and the increased risk of medical complicatioins and death. It is this wait time that is the most important and it is on these patients that the WHRA should focus their time and money.

How many more high profile deaths must the WHRA face before they start to get the issue right and the problem solved?

Alan Drummond MD

1 Response »

  1. I abolutely agree with you. My mother had colorectal cancer and dementia and was hauled out of her bed while sleeping by police and taken to Health Sciences Centre inWinnipeg. Apparently my sibling made a threat after the night home care worker left feces around and he had complained on dozens of occasions which fell on deaf ears. They said there would be emergency respite but there wasn’t and our mother was not triaged until 2 am the next morning. She stayed on a cot for twelve days and lost her ability to walk and was told she had an egg allergy. No tests were done to find out the reason for her rash-just egg allergy. She was aggressively asked to leave emergency because the bed manager said they needed her cot. My brother signed releasing her and they put her in a horrible nursing home with very limited care. She did not see the staff doctor until 12 days after her arrival and then was treated for decubitis ulcers and black patches on her feet. She was parched dry but the staff said she was getting enough water. She was rushed to hospital HSC again where she died from sepsis due to a perforated bowel. Her oncologist requested she be sent to palliative care but this was never initiated by the hospital.. Our mother was given a prognosis of six months but died in five weeks. I have contacted executives and WRHA and they have said the car was just fine from the emergency area to Parkview Care home. Our mother was rushed to Grace hospital because of rectal bleeding and came back with one shoe on. The exective of WRHA said that her foot was not exposed to the elements because she was transported by stretcher. That is the most ridiculous statement i have ever heard. Our mother was often seen sitting without being properly dressed and without anything opn her feet. I am ashamed that i come from Winnipeg but I am glad I live in Toronto. My mother did not have to suffer like this but WRHA said that her caaaaare was just fine and they have treated me like yesterday’s newspaper someone to discard as quickly as possible. Everyone I told of my mother’s ordeal is appalled but WRHA executives have told me that the care was adequate and the standard for care homes. They don’t get anyhting and their attitude toward the public and grieving children is horrific. Another lady Bonnie Guagliardo died from a head injury becuase she went home after waiting 6 hours. Nobody followed up on her as I have heard. So this bureacracy continues with the same old same old and the only people they protect is themselves.

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