MONTREAL – The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) is asking parents to think carefully before taking kids to the emergency room, especially if they have the flu or gastro.
“Most of these illnesses can be cured at home,” explained Harley Eisman, Director of Pediatric Emergency Services at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.
“Our first priority is to deal with those who are gravely ill and injured.”
Eisman said not only are patients with the flu probably going to end up waiting longer than those with more serious conditions, they could also put other patients at risk.
“It’s common to see a patient come in with gastro and leave with a respiratory illness,” he said.
According to the MUHC, the ER generally sees between 240 and 260 patients a day.
In the past two weeks, because of the late flu season in Montreal, that number has exceeded 300 people.
In Quebec City, Health Minister Gaétan Barrette said part of the problem is that ERs are the only medical facilities that are readily open.
Clinics don’t open long enough, he said and recommended that the province implement “extended opening hours, seven days a week, for everybody.”