Watch above: A patient is speaking out first hand after she says she spent four days in a hallway of the Doctor George L. Dumont Hospital due to overcrowding. Alex Abdelwahab reports.
MONCTON – Just over two weeks ago, Danielle Leblanc was admitted to the Georges L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre in Moncton with a gallbladder attack.
Doctors told her she would need surgery to have it removed but there were no acute care beds available, so she spent four days waiting in the hallway.
LeBlanc said she was only wearing a hospital gown and the whole experience was embarrassing.
“I was shivering,” she said. “I was pale because of the pain, and people were just walking by me. I felt like I was on Main Street.”
One day after doctors from the Horizon Health Network hospitals went public about the severity of the overcrowding problem at their hospitals, LeBlanc says it’s the same situation at the Vitalité Network Hospitals.
“You probably see it in third-world countries,” LeBlanc said “I didn’t think it would happen in New Brunswick.”
Just going to the bathroom, meant LeBlanc had to walk past hospital visitors, trying to hold the back of her hospital gown shut.
LeBlanc said the worst part was her bed was right by the emergency entrance, so every time paramedics or visitors walked in and out, she’d be hit by a draft from outside.
Sharon Richard, LeBlanc’s mother, said her daughter couldn’t even be moved down the hallway.
“They said no, that the place is going to be filled in a few minutes,” Richard said. “It was a line up in the hallway.”
Dr. Hubert Dupuis, President of the Medical Staff at the Dumont said the problem is nothing new. He said doctors have been trying to get the problem addressed for 10 years.
According to Dr. Dupuis, at any one time, about a quarter of the Dumont’s acute care beds are being used by seniors who should be in nursing homes.
“I’ve seen patients die in the hallways,” he said. “Which really, that’s the epitome of not having dignity.”
He applauded the doctors in the Horizon Network for speaking out.
Dr. Dupuis said the government needs to address the situation now because it’s only getting worse. He said ensuring those patients are moved out of hospitals would not only improve patient care, but also save the government money.
“I cannot describe to you how doctors feel when they see their patients either in the hallway in the emergency room or in the hallway upstairs,” he said. “I mean you cannot deliver good health care in those situations.”
Dr. Dupuis said surgeries are being cancelled and elective admissions to the hospital are nearly impossible.
LeBlanc said before her stay at the hospital, she never realized the situation in the province was so bad. She said she can’t understand how it’s allowed to keep happening.
“It’s demeaning,” she said. “To be living in Canada and sitting in a hallway for four days. It’s not right.”