Lachine Hospital to remain community facility as ER set to reopen

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Lachine facility to remain community hospital as ER set to reopen
WATCH: Advocates for the Lachine Hospital are relieved following an announcement by the MUHC that the facility will remain a community hospital. The news comes one day after the Quebec National Assembly voted unanimously to support the institution and maintain specialized services. As Global's Phil Carpenter reports, some supporters say the fight continues to keep other specialized services like the intensive care unit. – Apr 26, 2023

There could soon be ambulances rolling into Lachine Hospital once again, and permanently.

On Wednesday, the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) announced that it plans to keep the facility as a community hospital, a welcome relief for Dr. Paul Saba, a family physician at the facility who has long been pushing for more support.

“We’re moving in the right direction,” he told Global News.  “Reopening the emergency room to ambulances 24-7 with a full-functioning emergency room is good news.”

Advocates, like Saba, had expressed concerns about the hospital’s future.

Last spring, the provincial government announced a $220-million modernization plan for the facility which would double its size and include a larger emergency room, as well as an intensive care unit (ICU).

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Then, earlier this year the MUHC decided to re-evaluate how services are delivered at the hospital.

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“We’ve been told that they’re considering turning our hospital into a kind of mini clinic with a mini emergency room,” Saba explained in April, adding that there wouldn’t be ambulances and that it would be open only part-time.

That, he and other critics pointed out, would’ve put people’s lives at risk and put a strain on other emergency rooms, like ones at the Lakeshore and LaSalle hospitals.

It’s something they argue is already happening, since earlier this year when the MUHC decided to partially close the Lachine emergency department and redirect ambulances to other hospitals.

On Tuesday, the Quebec National Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution presented by Quebec Liberal Party MNA for Marquette, Enroci Ciccone, to support the Francophone hospital.

“We came as a group yesterday we spoke loud and clear and that’s to prove that we need a big mobilization,” he said.

Then, less than 24 hours later, the MUHC made a further announcement.

“Over the the coming 12 to 18 months (we will) work to increasing the number of beds for the patients that are hospitalized, from 35 to 55 beds,” Lucie Opatrny, MUHC president and executive director pointed out.

Still, advocates say it’s only a partial victory as there are no plans to re-open the intensive care unit which was closed more than two years ago.

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“This should be part of the plan,” Saba insisted.  “We have enough doctors, we have enough nurses, we have enough respiratory therapists, so this needs to move forward also.”

According to Opatrny, however, there will be capacity inside the new emergency department for patients who need intensive care until they can be transferred to another hospital.

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