NB Rise of deaths in emergency departments
The number of patients dying in emergency departments at Horizon Health hospitals has increased in recent years, although it is not clear why.
On July 12, a man waiting in the emergency department waiting room at Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital in Fredericton, NB, died. His death sparked outrage, demands for reform and shook Horizon’s leadership.
The health authority launched an internal review. The review was completed in early August, although it is unclear whether the details will be made public.
CTV News requested the number of people who died while waiting in the ER at Horizon Hospitals, but the network does not differentiate between those who died in the waiting room and those who died after being admitted to the emergency department.
It released numbers that show an increase in the number of patients dying in emergency departments.
In 2021, 287 patients died in Horizon Hospital’s emergency departments – more than in the previous three years.
Between January and July of 2022, 174 patients died at a rate exceeding the previous year’s total.
“With respect to deaths in our hospitals, Horizon’s decision support team provides this data on a specific department basis, and not necessarily an exact location within a department, such as a hallway or waiting room, for example,” says Greg Doiron, Horizon’s vice president said. of clinical operations.
“In the emergency department, this can largely be attributed to the fact that a physician is required to evaluate the patient before declaring him dead. These physician evaluations are never done in an ED’s waiting room. ,
New Brunswick Medical Society President Dr. Mark McMillan says – although it is difficult to identify a reason for the increase – doctors worry that some patients delay treatment because of the pandemic.
“This in turn creates a cascade effect on the health of the population, with almost a third of those who delayed medical care because of the pandemic, reportedly facing negative consequences, such as worsening conditions, as a result . This combined with the lack of health human resources in the system could partly explain the increase in emergency room deaths,” he said.
Liberal health critic Jean-Claude D’Amours noted during a committee hearing last week that the average waiting time is also increasing.
From an average of 93 minutes to 135 minutes year over year.
“I would say it would be average based on the day of the week and the time of day,” said Horizon Health CEO Margaret Melanson. “It fluctuates, but overall, a wait of more than two hours would actually be considered average.”
Some have noted that ER wait times will be higher this year, with staff shortages approaching levels that haven’t been seen in years.
The Department of Health says that patients seeking care in emergency departments are often “delivered in times of serious medical crisis, in high-intensity situations. We know the staff do their best to help everyone in these situations. ,