Woman dies after 11-hour wait to see a doctor in New Brunswick emergency room

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Woman dies after 11 hour wait to see a doctor at New Brunswick hospital
WATCH: A Moncton woman says her sister sat in the emergency department for 11 hours before being seen by a doctor – and by then, it was too late – Mar 21, 2019

Marianne Porter spent some of the final hours of her life hunched over and moaning in pain as she waited to be seen by an emergency room doctor at Moncton Hospital.

Porter waited for 11 hours before she was eventually seen.

It’s a period of time that Porter’s sister, Donna Bordage, believes contributed to her death only hours later.

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“She was having a hard time breathing, she was visibly uncomfortable, she couldn’t stand up, she couldn’t eat,” Bordage told Global News on Thursday.

READ MORE: Head of Canada’s busiest ER says solution to ‘hallway medicine’ isn’t just more beds

Bordage says Porter went to the hospital on Saturday morning for what she believed was a hernia.

Porter’s vitals were normal, but she was left in the waiting room in severe pain, waiting for hours before she was finally seen.

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“They needed to do bloodwork to find out that she had, that she was in acute kidney failure,” Bordage said.

Doctors worked on her sister overnight, but her kidneys eventually shut down and she died just after 9 a.m. on Sunday.

Porter was only 58. She had three children.

Overcrowded ER’s an issue

Although Dr. Serge Melanson couldn’t speak to the specific incident of Porter’s death, the president of the New Brunswick Medical Society said that at times, half of the ER beds in the Moncton Hospital are taken up by people who are admitted to the hospital but can’t be transferred to a unit or another ward due to overcrowding.

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“I think that is a clear example of demonstrating that there is a real human cost to the reality that we are living,” said Melanson, who works in the ER at Moncton Hospital.

“As much as we may look at the data in terms of numbers, in terms of wait times and percentages of hours, for example, at the end of the day, it is our patients and the community at large that we are failing by not meeting their needs in a more timely fashion.”

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Melanson says the Moncton Hospital’s ER isn’t meeting any of its wait time targets and it’s begun taking a toll on both patients and staff.

“As a practicing ER doctor, I have a lot of regret when I see a patient who’s waited eight hours to see me,” he said.

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The problem of overcrowding is a challenge in New Brunswick, and something that doctors say needs to be fixed.

One of the suggestions is for more patients to look at other health care options online. It’s believed it could reduce wait times and deter non-emergency health issues from ending up at the ER, taking up valuable space for those who need it.

Bordage says she believes hospital officials did everything they could, but she believes that overcrowding was a contributing factor in her sister’s death.

“I don’t think that anybody, under any circumstances, especially as sick as you are, should have to sit in a room for 11 hours before you can see a doctor,” she said.

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