A crowded ER is dan­ger­ous

Toronto Star - - INSIGHT -

Re Sys­tem headed for ‘cri­sis,’ OHA warns,

Sept. 12 The Cana­dian As­so­ci­a­tion of Emer­gency Physi­cians is fully sup­port­ive of the On­tario Hos­pi­tal As­so­ci­a­tion’s call for more ap­pro­pri­ate fund­ing for in­creased hos­pi­tal bed ca­pac­ity.

ER crowd­ing is a func­tion of hos­pi­tal crowd­ing and the in­abil­ity to trans­fer ad­mit­ted pa­tients from the ER hall­ways to hos­pi­tal ward beds. A crowded ER is a dan­ger­ous one, with as­so­ci­ated de­grees of hu­man suf­fer­ing, in­creased risks of med­i­cal er­ror, in­ad­e­quate treat­ment and com­pli­ca­tions, in­clud­ing death.

The call for timely ac­tion aside, we won­der why the OHA is so late to the party and so wrong in its char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of the problem? Crowd­ing has ex­isted in On­tario hos­pi­tals since the mid-1990s. It can’t be a “cri­sis” when emer­gency physi­cians and nurses have been told to es­sen­tially “suck it up and deal with it” through­out their ca­reers.

It would have been ap­pre­ci­ated if the OHA had stepped up and called for ac­tion in the 1990s. So many On­tar­i­ans would have been spared the anx­i­ety, pain and suf­fer­ing as­so­ci­ated with an ER visit. Dr. Alan Drum­mond, Cana­dian As­so­ci­a­tion of Emer­gency Physi­cians, Perth, Ont.

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