Preventable deaths in emergency rooms: Quebec chief physicians are sounding the alarm

During a news conference in late April, Deputy Deputy Health Minister Lucie Opatrny said she hoped health facilities could grant summer vacations to hospital staff.

Of course, we also have to weigh this up against the desire to intensify catch-up activities in all areas where there is a need to catch up., She said. Think, for example, of waiting lists for surgeries.

But as the summer vacation is just beginning, medical chiefs in charge of emergency services at Quebec’s hospitals are voicing concerns about not being able to provide safe services during the summer period.

We cannot remain silent in the face of the dramatic deterioration in our emergency services and the pressure our teams are under.writes the representative of the Regroupement des chefs d’urgence du Québec (RCUQ), doctor Marie-Maud Couture.


In a letter received by Radio-Canada and sent to in recent days chairman Healthcare facilities in Quebec, all Quebec medical chiefs create a series of findings and proposals.

After you, It has become commonplace that more than 50% of emergency room stretchers are occupied by hospital patients waiting upstairs for a bed [et que] These patients remain in the emergency room for more than 24 to 48 hours due to hospital overload.

According to available data compiled by Radio-Canada, when the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) came to power in 2018, the percentage of patients on stretchers remaining in emergency departments more than 24 hours increased from about 17%. to nearly 22% last year.

Since the health holidays began a week ago, this rate has fluctuated between 24% and 32%.

More than a million patients end up on a stretcher in the emergency room each year. Many have to be hospitalized.

According to emergency managers longer admission delays between emergency departments and nursing units are associated with a higher risk of mortality and complications for patients.

Several potentially preventable deaths have been reported by emergency workers in recent months due to a lack of access to a stretcher and the care required for the condition. »

A quote from Marie-Maud Couture, representative of the Regroupement des chefs d’urgence du Québec

A Montreal-area doctor who wants his identity concealed agrees. The fact that older patients remain in the emergency room due to a lack of beds significantly accelerates mortality and morbidityhe says.

According to the representative of RCUQDoctor Marie-Maud Couture, Our emergencies are forced to abandon their mission of becoming hospital overflow units. Patients on stretchers are pushed back into the places intended for outpatients. The lack of capacity created by this overload goes so far as to delay the treatment and evaluation of new patients..

Insufficient support

In their letter, the chief physicians consider the treatment of non-emergency cases by their general practitioner colleagues to be inadequate.

The burden of diverting non-emergency customers to the front lines weighs heavily on our teams; […] the first line is unable to respond to this requestadvise them.

take these into account unacceptable that management would allow beds to be closed at short notice for the summer period and not do so [se] do not feel responsible for the injustice of the population in accessing emergency services.

It is imperative that senior management also take responsibility for this now compromised quality and safety of add.

The President of the Union of Nurses, Respiratory Therapists and Auxiliary Nurses of Laval (SIIIAL-CSQ), Déreck Cyr, who was asked to react, recalls that its members have been alive for months Exhaustion situations in the emergency room of the Cité de la Santé, frequent OSI (mandatory overtime) and work stoppages.

according to him One of the solutions is to take the 15 overflow beds, which were added to the 49 stretchers on the emergency room permit, out of the responsibility of rescue workers.

5 Actions requested by the heads of emergencies

We request that any facility whose emergency shows repeated overloading of their stretchers by patients waiting for a bed or by patients staying longer than 24 hours be forced to adopt the following measures, which have also been presented to the Secretary of Health will :

1. Provide floor overcapacity logs directly proportional to ED occupancy rates and based on the number of licensed beds.

2. An occupancy rate of 150% should inevitably go hand in hand with an occupancy rate of 150% in the nursing units.

3. Notifying the ministerial team once 24 hours has been reached for a patient in the ER, explaining the delays associated with the patient’s stay in the ER and the direction attributed to the delays.

4. The use of day surgery units, recovery rooms, and ambulances to accommodate any patient in an overcrowded situation and wait for an upstairs bed when congestion occurs in the emergency department.

5. The utilization of overcapacity in residential units and rehabilitation facilities for NSA clients (alternative level of care). The hospital user committee’s awareness of the reality of emergencies and the participation of these members on the hospital committees.

Darren Pena

Avid beer trailblazer. Friendly student. Tv geek. Coffee junkie. Total writer. Hipster-friendly internet practitioner. Pop culture fanatic.

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