A crowded ER is dangerous
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.