NB ER Death: Patient Dies Hours Before Being Seen



The death of a patient in a Fredericton hospital emergency department waiting room this week is prompting calls for major improvements to the province’s health care system.

John Staples, a residential support worker, witnessed the incident early Tuesday morning while waiting with a client at Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital and posted details on social media.

He said the man appeared to be in a lot of pain and discomfort as he waited for hours in a wheelchair, but eventually seemed to fall asleep.

“The ER attendant came out to check on people and checked it out,” Staples said in an interview Wednesday. « She rushed to the emergency room in a very professional way, so as not to set off an alarm and came back with a few other people. They pushed her to the back and as they did, they called a code blue, » he said, referring to the hospital’s code. for cardiac or respiratory arrest.

« Unfortunately the gentleman died right there with us. He was literally about to seek medical attention and did not receive it. »

Staples said he doesn’t blame busy ER staff, but believes there is something wrong with the healthcare system and changes are needed.

« I think you have to look very hard at what we have in place for health care. Why are people dying in waiting rooms? I’ve seen people leave the emergency room without being seen because they were frustrated with the long wait time,” he said.

Opposition Liberals responded to the patient’s death by calling for the resignation of Health Minister Dorothy Shephard and funding to hire more hospital staff.

« Unfortunately, given the incompetence of the Higgs government and in particular the Minister of Health in dealing with the serious health care crisis in this province, this terrible outcome was a very real possibility, » said the Liberal critic. in matters of health Jean-Claude D’Amours in a statement on Wednesday.

“Premier Higgs needs to stop complaining to the federal government, demand that his Minister of Health resign, and get on with saving our health care system before it’s too late,” D’Amours said. Higgs was in Victoria this week where Canada’s premiers called on the federal government to discuss the future of health care funding.

Shephard released a statement to say she is saddened and concerned by the patient’s death, adding that she has requested a review of the incident.

“I have no doubt that every New Brunswicker and all of our healthcare workers are touched by this story. We all want to know that when we go for help it will be there and it can be delivered,” Shephard said.

Dr. John Dornan, president of the Horizon Health Network, which oversees the hospital, released a statement to confirm the unexpected death of a patient and said a review process had begun.

Staples’ Facebook post describing the incident drew a lot of comments. « People shouldn’t have to die waiting to be seen, » one person wrote. “To the highest ranks, wake up!! It’s Canada! Another said: “This is not a current government issue. This is a problem that has rested on the shoulders of every elected politician in this province for 25 years.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on July 14, 2022


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