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Investigation underway after patient dies at North Vancouver hospital

Click to play video: 'VCH investigating after woman dies in Lions Gate Hospital emergency room'
VCH investigating after woman dies in Lions Gate Hospital emergency room
WATCH: Vancouver Coastal Health has confirmed to Global News an investigation is underway after an older woman died at Lions Gate Hospital, lying on a stretcher in the emergency room. The BC Nurses' Union says hospital workers have feared this would happen as they deal with staffing shortages. Richard Zussman has more. – Jul 22, 2022

Vancouver Coastal Health is conducting a comprehensive review after a woman died at Lions Gate Hospital last week.

The health authority says an individual was assessed by a physician and received care from staff at the hospital earlier this month but patient privacy and confidentiality ‘prevent us from publicly discussing specific details related to this case’.

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The Vancouver Sun reported the woman died after more than two days on a stretcher waiting for further treatment.

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“A loss of this nature is heartbreaking for the family and care providers. We are deeply saddened by this incident and share our sincere condolences with the affected family,” a statement from VCH reads.

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“Coastal leadership has met with the family to offer additional supports and will continue to meet with them to answer any questions they may have.”

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The B.C. Nurses Union says members have raised concerns about what happened at Lions Gate Hospital and believe a lack of staff led to insufficient care.

The health-care system as a whole has been under tremendous pressure in recent months.

A chronic shortage of staff has been compounded by early retirements due to burnout and sick days due to COVID-19.

“There are simply not enough nurses to monitor the patients to the extent they need to be monitored,” BCNU vice-president Adriane Gear said.

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“This is a very tragic thing that has happened at Lions Gate Hospital but it could happen frankly at any hospital in British Columbia.”

For July 11 to July 17, 15,776 health-care workers across the province called in sick for at least one day. This made up about 9.8 per cent of the entire health workforce.

Even with the extremely high absentee rates, the province and the health authorities are ensuring the public timely care will be provided to patients.

“We are committed to the health and safety of everyone in our care,” the statement from VCH reads.

“We remain committed to supporting our healthcare workers as they provide care to patients in this very difficult and challenging time.”

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