Winnipeg hospital emergency rooms are still overloaded

Winnipeg hospital emergency rooms are still overloaded, Iryna Chyrkova

Winnipeg hospital emergency rooms have so many patients that they have to divert away some of them.

HSC, St. Boniface Hospital, Grace Hospital and Seven Oaks Hospital have opened over-capacity beds due to too high demand in the city. Currently, more than 70 over-capacity beds are being used.

However, some patients still have to wait. For example, Jan Lankester's daughter arrived at the hospital on Tuesday night. The girl’s father reported that there was a line of more than 100 people before them. They spent 16 hours in the line and saw a lot: the police and prisoners, drug addicts, people with serious mental disorders. The hospital staff tried to cope with the situation, but there was a complete mess.

"What does that tell you about our system?" she said. "This is what went through my mind: third-world country. I cannot believe I am sitting here in Winnipeg and this is happening, and the wait time is unbelievable."

As WRHA president Réal Cloutier informed February is the month of ER overload due to flu season and several other reasons.

"The seasonal demand that we get at this time of year has been a bit different than we saw last year, and it's been longer and more prolonged, but certainly people are sicker in the hospitals, and we're having challenges around discharges from our hospitals," said Cloutier.

On Tuesday, the Health Sciences Centre tried to redirect ambulances to other hospitals in Winnipeg. On Wednesday the situation changed for the better. Now the waiting time is gradually decreasing, but it still is significantly higher than in other hospitals in the country.

Lancaster thanked all the doctors who were trying to help, but the woman believes that the problem should be solved by the authorities.

"Let's haul Brian Pallister in here, who gets top notch medical care in Costa Rica. He needs to sit in there, and his cabinet ministers need to sit in there, for a weekend like that and see what goes on. It was mind-boggling."

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