Records show patients waiting dangerously long in Moose Jaw’s ER

New information on emergency room (ER) wait times in Moose Jaw shows that many patients who need to see a doctor within minutes are left in the waiting room of the new Lean-designed hospital for hours.

Documents obtained by the NDP via access to information laws show that 57 times in just 74 days, patients classified as 'emergent' or 'urgent,’ who should have seen a doctor within 15 and 30 minutes, respectively, waited hours.

“The hospital's own records show wait times have hit dangerous levels, again and again,” said NDP Health critic Danielle Chartier. “The John Black Lean approach used to design and run this hospital is failing patients. Can you imagine showing up at an ER and being told you need to be seen by a doctor within 15 minutes – then waiting and waiting for four-and-a-half hours? Plus, who knows how long you wait to actually see a doctor when you finally get moved into an examination room.”

Examples of patients requiring 'emergent' care include conditions like severe trauma, head injury, chest pain and overdose. According to national standards, they should be seen by a doctor within 15 minutes, according to national standards. Examples of patients requiring 'urgent' care include conditions like moderate trauma, seizure, internal bleeding, or vaginal bleeding in the case of a pregnant woman. Those patients should be seen within 30 minutes.

But over just 74 days, 44 'emergent' patients waited more than an hour, 12 waited more than two hours and the longest wait was shockingly dangerous at nearly 4.5 hours.

248 'urgent' patients also waited more than one hour, with 69 waiting longer than two hours. 22 urgent cases even waited more than three hours.

 Among less urgent cases, the hospital's records show waits between three and 6.5 hours were common.

“I’m hearing over and over again that the staff there are wonderful – but they’re run off their feet, frustrated with the red-tape of the toxic Lean program, even doubled up on jobs so the cleaning staff are also delivering patients’ meals,” said Chartier. “Brad Wall might call that efficient – I call that dangerous for patients.

“It’s clear that when this hospital was designed, the Sask. Party's toxic Lean program was the priority – not patients.”

Moose Jaw resident Cheryl Pakula recently spoke out after spending 13 days in December and January at the bedside of a loved one at the Wigmore hospital. In a letter to the health minister, Pakula described the Emergency Department waiting room as a “tiny corner,” that was so overcrowded “people were sitting on the floor.” Pakula also described nursing staff run off their feet and not always available when her loved one needed them, and cleaning staff stretched so thin, used syringes, medical waste and even blood stayed on the floor for days at a time.