Emergency room cri de coeur - Macleans.ca

Emergency room cri de coeur

A Calgary columnist takes his ailing wife to hospital and finds the experience worthy of Dante’s Inferno


Ever have a long, frustrating emergency room experience and wished you could tell the world? Don Braid, a columnist with the Calgary Herald, has the pulpit, but also a sense of urgency sparked by Health Minister Ron Liepert’s moves to cut and delist health services in a system already rocked by privations. For his part, Braid takes his sick wife to emergency and spends 14 hours in purgatory. “My wife is stretched out pale as a ghost with strangers all around. I had to beg for a blanket. They couldn’t spare a pillow. This ‘reformed’ system feels like a nightmare where you’re screaming for help but nobody sees or hears,” he writes. “Wish you were here, Ron.”


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Emergency room cri de coeur

  1. Ron, welcome to public health care. You really need to drill down to get to the real story here. Start asking why the emerg is backed up? It,s because the hospital is backed up, why is the hospital backed up because, and I speak from personal experience, seniors are kept in the hospital as long term care beds, because there is a chronic shortage of long term care facilities. There are thousands of people in this situation. I was in the position where I was told by, “transition services”, now there is a piece of bureaucratic work, that I could not take my father out of the hospital to the lodge he was to move into, he had to stay in the hospital until a long term bed was available. That could be weeks! We would also be charged the $42.50 per day long term rate to stay in the hospital.
    Fortunately an old doctor came along with a group of interns and I plead my case. Thirty minutes later we were on our way to the lodge.
    My point is your are looking at the wrong end of the for answers. The system is plugged from the back end forward.
    An other problem is the shortage of GP’s so that people end up in an emergency room for minor infections that should have been treated weeks prior in a doctors office.

    • I agree with Doug, I am an ER doc. This is a chronic problem likely to become much worse as the baby boomers go through their “golden years”. I can’t see a good solution to the situation. Unfortunately we may have to accept a lower level of care in general.

  2. As with all monopoly government services, the health care system is primarily concerned with the providers’ comfort. In an identical circumstance how long would Health Minister Ron Liepert’s wife wait for attention before the hospital head honcho was called on the carpet?