February 28th, 2024

Quebec doctors say emergency room overcrowding is putting patient health at risk

By The Canadian Press on December 18, 2023.

Emergency room doctors in Quebec say overcrowding in their departments has become critical and risks impacting patient health. An ambulance pulls out of the emergency entrance of a hospital in Montreal, Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

MONTREAL – Emergency room doctors in Quebec say overcrowding in hospitals has reached dangerous levels.

Dr. Judy Morris, head of an association of Quebec ER doctors, says occupancy rates are as high as they’ve ever been and some hospitals regularly have twice as many ER patients as they can handle.

Her comments come several days after a group representing emergency room chief doctors sent a letter demanding action to the province’s health minister.

Morris says Quebec’s hospital system has become so fragile that even a small rise in the number of ER patients can have a major impact.

She is recommending the government implement overcapacity protocols that would reduce ER occupancy by transferring more patients to hospital wards.

Health data website Index Santé says the average ER occupancy in Quebec this afternoon was 133 per cent and hasn’t been below 100 per cent since Nov. 12.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 18, 2023.

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