When Abigail Schellenberg made her decision to seek treatment at St. Boniface Hospital after injuring her left ankle, she did so expecting to wait a long time, but it was worse.
“I started to feel like I was being forgotten. I pressed the call button in my room and a nurse wouldn’t come for 30 minutes,” she told Global News on Friday.
Schellenberg says those 30 minutes on Wednesday night eventually turned into 18 hours.
She called the hospital’s patient relations department on Thursday morning.
She was told she would not have had to wait as long if she had chosen to seek treatment at an urgent care centre. That’s a very different tone from what Schellenberg experienced during her marathon stay inside the emergency department at St. Boniface.
“At no point did they tell me to go to urgent care. I told them a couple times that the pain was persisting and it was shooting further up my leg.”
In 2017, half of Winnipeg’s ER’s shut down as part of a major overhaul by the province to help reduce wait times. That meant converting some of them into urgent care centres for less serious health concerns.
Health Minister Audrey Gordon said the province intends to bring back an advertising campaign targeted at educating people about where to go for treatment.
“We do feel there’s a need, considering the number of individuals that are showing up at our emergency departments to bring back that communications platform. So that will be unveiled soon,” Gordon told a crowd reporters on Friday morning.
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority would not comment on Schulenberg’s case but they are aware that wait times have been higher than usual.
“We empathize with anyone who is experiencing longer than usual waits while seeking treatment. We are all doing our best, especially our front-line staff, to ensure everyone gets seen as quickly as possible,” said a spokesperson for the WRHA in a statement to Global News.