McMaster Children’s Hospital patient crisis grows

McMaster Children's Hospital in Hamilton adjusts its inpatient care plans amid growing capacity crisis. NSD

McMaster Children’s Hospital (MCH) has, for the second time in several weeks, adjusted it’s inpatient care plan amid a surge in cases of influenza, COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

In a news release, dated November 11th, Hamilton’s pediatric hospital says it is collaborating with other campuses within the Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) system to continue to deliver inpatient care.  It cites an occupancy rate that is 140%, which is already about 20% higher than average for October.

As well, the Emergency Department (ED) is seeing 190-200 patients a day with wait times as high as 12 or more hours.  MCH also says  admitted patients are often waiting more than 24 hours before they can move to an inpatient bed and the critical care unit is at 100% capacity.

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There are currently 53 children admitted with either the flu, COVID-19 or RSV.  On October 31st, there were 14 such admissions.

As a result of this increasing pressure on resources, MCH says it’s utilizing clinic space after hours to manage the high volume of patients coming to the ED, and where medically appropriate and if required, to care for critically ill children (14+) in adult critical care units in the coming days and weeks.

In a tweet, ppidemiologist and University of Toronto professor, Dr. David Fisman, cites an internal memo from MCH, sent to him by someone at the pediatric site, saying teen surgical patients are being transferred to adult hospitals within HHS.

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That information was not included in the update posted to the MCH website.

On November 4th, MCH initiated some measures aimed at easing the burden on the hospital, by limiting surgeries requiring post op admission to one per day and transferring some teen ICU patients to adult critical care units at adult hospitals within HHS.

HHS president and CEO Rob MacIsaac posted this to twitter yesterday. However, it didn’t say what assistance would be coming from the province of Ontario or Health Ontario to help with the patient crisis at MCH.


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