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

The Royal Columbian ER: Recognized for all the Wrong Reasons

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I was saddened by your (Vancouver Sun) report on hospital crowding at the Royal Columbian and the resultant clinical chaos that has ensued .

When I read that the Fraser Health CEO suggested that the current situation was due to an influx of patients with either the flu or measles, I thought he must have been seriously misquoted. Just how could he be so wrong?

There is clear and incontrovertible scientific evidence that crowded ERs are a result of crowded hospitals and furthermore that the solution is to improve bed availability. There is no rationale for blaming the problem on those with minor illness as studies have shown they make no significant contribution to the problem. Blaming the flu and measles indicates a serious misunderstanding of the true nature of crowding .

It was equally disappointing to read that the Minister of Health feels no reason to become involved. Hospital crowding and congested dysfunctional emergency departments are not matters of mere patient inconvenience. Rather studies have shown that the health of patients is threatened with the increased risk of complication and even death by overcrowded ERs. Furthermore, the system is stressed by gridlocked ambulances, suspension of elective surgeries and increased costs to the health care system. Clearly the Minister has a moral responsibility to take ownership of this threat to the public’s well-being.

The Royal Columbian should have a national reputation for clinical excellence in Emergency Medicine. It has a well regarded emergency medical staff known for their passion and innovation in providing first rate care. Instead it is known as the home of the Timmies ER and the ER that had to be cleared out by the Fire Marshall’s Office.

That this dangerous situation has been allowed to persist for so long is nothing short of shameful.

Letter to the Editor of the Vancouver Sun

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