Oct. 24 UPDATE: Calling it unacceptable, Health Minister Jim Reiter said he’s ordered the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) to review the situation.
He also asked that they reach out the to the patient, Angela McLean. The review will look at a number of issues included beds – the Pasqua Hospital recently received 24 more – and ER physician staffing.
“We need to understand if it was a staffing issue or if it’s just a capacity issue, or probably a combination of both, but they’re going to need to review that as well,” Reiter said.
Opposition Leader Ryan Meili, who practiced as a family physician prior to winning the NDP leadership, said he has seen ER wait times climb under the Saskatchewan Party government.
Reiter put no definitive timeline on when the review should be complete, noting he wants it done well but quickly. The minister hopes to see the report in the next few weeks.
The original article continues below…
Angela McLean says she was admitted to the hospital last Monday, but left in the dark with no answers until Friday, waiting for a room that never came.
“It’s terrifying. That’s the only word I can think of,” McLean said. “When I told I was admitted I thought that meant admitted to the hospital.
“In the end it meant admitted to a hallway — a hallway full of patients.
“We had no level of hygiene, not for us or the nursing staff even. They had no sinks, no running water, they didn’t have proper lighting.”
Stuck in the back of a hallway in a bed next to six other patients, McLean says she was told by nurses they were dealing with overcrowding and it was all part of patient flow.
“Everyone was hoping for a room, some patients couldn’t even advocate for themselves because of their age or their illness,” McLean said.
“You had this elderly woman who was suffering and unaware of where she is next to someone who is vomiting. There is spread of germs and disease, next to someone else who is not conscience- next to me who’s just struggling to get by hoping for a room.”
Saskatchewan Health Authority did confirm that Pasqua Hospital emergency was required to use an alternate space for care a number of times last week. The authority said that as of 4:30 p.m. Friday, there were eight patients in the emergency department waiting for beds in other units, and seven patients in the waiting room.
The authority added that overall hospital capacity was at 100 per cent and thanked everyone for their understanding and patience if they experienced delays, while encouraging patients with immediate concerns to connect with care staff in the facility.
But McLean says she plans to file a formal complaint outlining her concerns in hopes of making a difference for patients in the future.
“Being in a hospital for a week when you’re sick and vulnerable, there’s no dignity, there’s no hygiene, there’s no safety,” McLean said.
“Us as patients and the people trying to treat us, we’re all at risk — it’s terrifying.”