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Patients lay for hours on Misericordia Hospital ER floor: ‘It was disgusting’

Click to play video: 'Edmonton patients lay for hours on Misericordia Hospital ER floor: ‘It was disgusting’' Edmonton patients lay for hours on Misericordia Hospital ER floor: ‘It was disgusting’
WATCH: An Edmonton woman is speaking out about her experience at a west end hospital. Trista Champagne said she was one of many people in pain who ended up laying on a dirty floor while waiting in the Misericordia Community Hospital emergency department, after no gurneys were available. Sarah Reid reports. – Sep 6, 2022

An Edmonton woman wants to do everything possible to avoid returning to a west end hospital — not because of her medical treatment, but rather where she was forced to wait in pain.

“It was disgusting. Even if something else happens to me, I don’t want to go back there,” Trista Champagne said on Tuesday.

Champagne, 47, said she and other patients waited for hours on the floor inside what she called “a dirty makeshift garage” at the Misericordia Community Hospital.

Read more: ‘Frustrating’ and ‘devastating’: The domino effect of family doctor, LTC shortages on ERs

Trista said she had been dealing with extreme back pain for two days over the long weekend. When she started struggling to breathe on Sunday night, her mom, Dale, convinced her to go to the hospital.

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“I was fighting her all the way, saying, ‘There’s nothing that is going to happen, we’re just going to sit there and it’s going to be miserable,'” Trista said.

“When we actually get there, it was worse than I could have ever have imagined.”

They chose the Mis because of all the hospitals in the Edmonton region, it was reporting the shortest wait time — 2.5 hours.

Read more: ‘Dying on wait-lists’: Could private health-care solve Canada’s ER ‘crisis’?

The family said she got triaged within about 20 minutes, but then they were told to wait in an area she describes as a concrete garage with dried blood on the floor and uncomfortable chairs.

Champagne said the pain that drove her to seek medical attention prevented her from sitting.

Trista Champagne, 47, laying on the floor of a waiting area at the Misericordia Community Hospital emergency department in Edmonton, Alta. on Sunday, Sept. 4, 2022. Supplied

When she was told there were no gurneys available, she chose to join two other patients already curled up on the floor.

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They ended up waiting seven hours to see a physician, during which time Dale tracked down blankets for patients on the floor to lay on.

Trista Champagne, 47, laying on the floor of a waiting area at the Misericordia Community Hospital emergency department in Edmonton, Alta. on Sunday, Sept. 4, 2022. Supplied

The hospital is run by Covenant Health. No one was available for an interview on Tuesday, but a statement was sent to Global News.

It read, in part, “Throughout the pandemic, hospitals, including the Misericordia Community Hospital, have used non-traditional spaces for patients to wait after they’ve been triaged. As we navigate these increased volumes, we continue to use these temporarily expanded waiting areas to support our patients.”

The statement went on to say the hospital is dealing with an increase of high acuity patients that require more specialized care, which adds more pressure on staff.

Read more: Opposition NDP slams Alberta government for health centre closures

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The Champagnes stressed they do not blame the front-line health-care workers for the situation.

“They were really good,” Dale said.

“They did their best with what they have, it’s just that they didn’t have what they needed.”

Champagne’s experience mirrors that of a Drayton Valley family, who in July said their sick child had to lay on the floor after being put in a room with no bed.

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Patient laying on Drayton Valley hospital ER floor prompts call for change – Jul 19, 2022

The family is joining the countless other Albertans who have called on the province in recent months to increase funding and resources to better support the burnt-out system.

“The facilities are not equipped to handle the situation at hand,” Trista said, adding until something changes, she’ll do everything she can to avoid another trip to the emergency room.

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Read more: Doctors say health system has ‘collapsed’ as patient surges fuel ER closures

As of this story publishing on Tuesday night, the wait time at the Misericordia was 5.5 hours. Other emergency rooms in the Edmonton region reported similar wait times.

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