André Picard correctly reminds us of the two waits for emergency care: those in the waiting room and, more importantly, the sick and elderly who languish in ER hallways waiting for a ward or ICU bed (Seniors-On-Stretchers: A Health Care Disgrace, Sept. 23). It is the latter group who are prone to increased complications, including higher death rates.
Mr. Picard is too polite, however, in describing the consequences of this wait. “Festering” and “gasping for care” doesn’t begin to adequately describe the experience. Our British and Australian colleagues have taken off the gloves: In essence, they’re saying that crowded ERs can kill your granny and make her suffer before she dies.
In Canada, we’ve been much too polite. As a consequence, we’ve let governments off far too easily. It’s time to call ER crowding what it really is: government-sanctioned granny killing.
Alan Drummond, Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians