ER at KGH gets failing grade
Mar 7, 2013 / 1:00 pm
It's a big fat 'F' for emergency care at the Kelowna General Hospital.
The failing grade recently reported on the BC Emergency Care website has a local ER doctor turning to YouTube with his horror stories on just how bad the situation is.
Tales such as a 102-year-old woman with a compression fracture waiting 10 hours to be assessed by an ER doctor or the story of an 82-year-old man with chest pains forced to leave the hospital in pain and frustrated with wait times.
Dr. Davide Rhine tells his real-life ER story along with several other BC doctors on the website bcemergencycare.com. A site designed by BC doctors who are tired of what they claim are the government's 'slapdash approach to ER medicine'.
Rhine says doctors are aware that the long delays in emergency rooms cause complications for patients.
"For those being admitted we know there is an increase in mortality rate, because of these long delays. This is not why we are in the business of emergency medicine, this is not what our patients expect when they come in the door."
He explains that doctors are frustrated by the inability to deliver the kind of care they want to, as they are limited by overcrowding and long waits.
"We need to see them improve and go away."
The report cards are based on ER doctors experience and knowledge. The grade for KGH was given as the hospital is reported to have the fifth busiest trauma centre in the province and is well over its 100 per cent capacity.
The report claims patients often wait more than six hours to see a physician or get a stretcher in the department, with elderly patients waiting the longest.
Kelowna ER doctors maintain there is no safe place to examine patients with dignity or to start their treatment because the ER is blocked with stretchers already full of admitted patients.
In the last few months overcrowding has 'frozen flow' to the extent that ER Doctors see much fewer patients per shift, making them inefficient, the report declares.
According to the BC emergency care website, the provincial government has abandoned the plan they made with the BCMA to make changes to ease the escalating ER patient crisis.
Over the last three years the site claims 'small and temporary patchwork of band aids has been applied to a few desperate sites — sometimes by a health authority with a bit of temporary funding to hire another ER doctor or by a hospital administrator with the foresight to independently implement and enforce specific measures to get admitted ER patients onto wards quickly — even when their hospital is at 100% capacity.'
BC Emergency Doctors have come up with a five point plan to deal with the over crowding and long waits in hospitals.
Now and over the short-term they include.
- Increase physician staffing in ERs to reflect increased ER patient visits.
- Make annual adjustments to ER physician staffing to ensure safe patient care.
- Set and enforce standards regarding how long sick ER patients wait for an inpatient bed.
- Continue and expand initiatives that will reduce the number of ER visits that could otherwise be served by other practitioners.
- Hold administrators in Ministry of Health and Health Authorities accountable for meeting the standards set.
Longterm: Make honest and realistic plans to increase hospital beds to achieve regular hospital occupancy rates that do not exceed 85 per cent.
Elsewhere in the Okanagan, Penticton Regional Hospital also received a failing grade for a shortage of doctors and a grade of fair for it's overcrowding issues.
Vernon Jubilee Hospital received a fair grade for 'not enough doctors', and an 'F' for overcrowding.
If you have an ER story you would like to share, click here.
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