September 26, 2023

Well being Minister Adrian Dix is on the defensive after dozens of B.C. physicians have penned letters outlining unsafe situations in hospitals they are saying are placing sufferers in danger

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Well being Minister Adrian Dix is going through a “staggering” well being care disaster as dozens of physicians at 5 B.C. hospitals have come ahead to boost the alarm about unsafe situations they are saying are placing sufferers in danger.

The newest open letter was from ladies’s well being suppliers at Surrey Memorial Hospital who say insufficient sources are compromising affected person care and had been an element within the dying of a new child child in 2020.

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One other letter from emergency room medical doctors at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster and Eagle Ridge Hospital in Port Moody says a vital scarcity of hospitalists — the medical doctors answerable for admitting sufferers from the ER and taking care of them in hospital — has resulted in some sufferers ready within the emergency room for as much as 72 hours.

And one Nanaimo emergency room physician stated he’s seeing extra sufferers being admitted to hospital with no physician assigned, which suggests nobody is instantly managing their care.

Trevor Halford, B.C. United MLA for Surrey-White Rock, stated the rising refrain from involved physicians is “staggering.”

“It’s previous the tipping level,” he stated. “It’s an absolute disaster.”

Dix acknowledged busy hospitals akin to Surrey Memorial, Nanaimo Regional and Royal Inland have had a rise in sufferers in current months, leaving them over capability.

“When the very, very busy days are each day, that’s an enormous stress on all people within the system,” he informed Postmedia Information on Tuesday. “And that’s what we’ve been seeing over time.”

An open letter launched Monday by 36 physicians in obstetrics and gynecology at Surrey Memorial Hospital stated the “vital shortage of sources has created systemic points compromising security for our sufferers,” and has “resulted in a single new child dying, numerous close to misses, and ethical harm to our care suppliers.”

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Dr. Claudine Storness-Bliss, an obstetrician and gynecologist and co-head of the division, informed Postmedia Information on Tuesday that she and her colleagues are mentally and emotionally drained as they try to cope with “acute conditions and never having the ability to deal with them in a well timed vogue due to the dearth of sources.”

“We proceed to maneuver mountains to do what we are able to to handle sufferers,” she stated. “However the variety of sufferers requiring care is quickly rising. We’re already falling quick and until we act at present, it’ll be a catastrophe inside the subsequent few years.”

Picture of the exterior of Surrey Memorial Hospital in Surrey.
Surrey Memorial Hospital in Surrey. Photograph by Jason Payne /PNG

Fraser Well being CEO Dr. Victoria Lee confirmed that the well being authority launched a evaluate after a new child died in 2020. Whereas Lee couldn’t go into particulars about what brought on the toddler’s dying, citing privateness guidelines, she stated the evaluate led to seven suggestions and an extra $3 million spent so as to add workers and help providers to the household birthing unit.

Storness-Bliss stated that funding has not been sufficient to maintain up with demand and Surrey’s quickly rising inhabitants. For instance, the letter notes Surrey Memorial’s household birthing unit has half the variety of beds of comparable models in Vancouver.

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“We’re placing out fires versus planning for the fires which might be coming,” she stated.

The obstetricians and gynecologists launched the letter to again up the issues from Surrey Memorial emergency room physicians. The ER medical doctors stated in an open letter earlier this month a scarcity of physicians and acute beds have created “unsafe situations” which have brought on “extreme opposed outcomes together with dying.”

Lee informed Postmedia Information after the letter was launched that nobody has died as a result of delays in care or a scarcity of beds.

On Tuesday, Lee acknowledged that “there’s frustration and challenges and at the moment” together with “delays in care, rising demand, stretching of present providers.” However she stated the well being authority is working to recruit workers to cope with that elevated demand.

A gaggle of physicians from Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster and Eagle Ridge Hospital in Port Moody added their voices final week with a letter slamming the federal government and Fraser Well being for failing to acknowledge the severity of the emergency division disaster.

“Our group is at a breaking level,” they wrote. “Wait instances have skyrocketed. Emergency departments are overcrowded. Sufferers are leaving with out being seen, regardless of in search of care.”

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The dire scarcity of hospitalists — medical doctors employed instantly by hospitals — means sufferers are ready as much as 72 hours within the ER earlier than being admitted, they wrote.

One Nanaimo emergency room physician informed Postmedia Information the “disaster” scarcity of hospitalists is resulting in sufferers being admitted to hospital with no physician assigned.

Dr. Chris Rumball, who has labored at Nanaimo Regional Common Hospital since 2009, stated that more and more means sufferers “being handed from one emergency physician to the subsequent. So no less than some doctor is aware of vaguely about their existence, however nobody is particularly instantly managing their in-patient care.”

Rumball has dubbed these “IOU sufferers” — inpatients orphaned and unassigned. Rumball, who has been training for 47 years, is pissed off at seeing sufferers “languish in already overcrowded (emergency division) hallways. These are those who we owe a normal of care and we’re not giving it to them.”

Dr. Joshua Greggain, president of Medical doctors of B.C., confirmed there’s been a rise in sufferers being admitted to hospital with no physician connected.

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“That’s not a protected approach to offer care,” he stated. Greggain stated whereas a scarcity of hospitalists is one issue placing stress on emergency departments, different components embody the variety of individuals coming to emergency rooms due to the opioid disaster, the psychological well being disaster and the scarcity of household medical doctors.

Dix stated the Well being Ministry is working with hospitalists on a greater compensation mannequin, just like the deal made with household medical doctors.

“What it’s important to do to enhance the system is it’s important to recruit extra (well being employees) and that’s what we’ve completed,” Dix stated.

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