Ministry result

Deaths outside Trois-Rivières, Quebec, hospital “unacceptable”: Ministry of Health

Quebec’s health ministry said the triage situation at a regional university hospital in Trois-Rivières, where a man over 85 died in an ambulance on Wednesday while awaiting treatment, is “unacceptable.”

After waiting more than two hours in front of the emergency room of the VSbetween regional university-affiliated hospital (CHAUR), the man went into cardiac arrest and could not be revived.

“A situation like this is unacceptable and must not happen again,” the health ministry said in a statement. “Patients need to be seen more quickly and treated through other resources as much as possible.”

Marianne Lemay, Director of Professional Services for the Regional Health Board, the Integrated University Health and Social Services Center of Mauricie-et-du-Centre-du-Québec (CIUSSS-MCQ), told CBC the emergency room was well beyond capacity.

“In the time of COVID, we have 45 beds available in the ER and we had 67 occupied with over 30 patients waiting to be hospitalized,” she said. “So you can understand that it creates quite a bit of pressure.”

Lemay said no one who works at the hospital wants to see a patient die in such a setting. Paramedics have been denouncing since last week the waiting times for patient transfers in Mauricie.

On Wednesday, when the old man was brought to the CHAUR, there were already five or six other ambulances waiting in the hospital garage.

The man was triaged by a nurse, who deemed him non-priority. We made him wait in the emergency vehicle. Paramedics alerted the hospital and did everything to resuscitate him when he went into cardiac arrest, but he died inside the ambulance.

Paul Brunet, president of a patient rights group, says he believes the death of an elderly man in Trois-Rivières was preventable. (Louis Gagne/Radio Canada)

Patient rights group wants answers

“When someone is abandoned like that in a hospital garage, it’s a pretty sad picture of the health network,” said Paul Brunet, patient rights advocate and president of the Council for the protection of the sick (CPM).

Brunet says the regional health authority owes the family and the public an explanation.

“Was there good communication with paramedics and emergency personnel? he said in an interview with Radio-Canada. “There are several questions that need to be answered, but we believe this is a death that likely could have been prevented.”

The CIUSSS-MCQ says it is conducting an internal investigation and has asked the coroner to help investigate. Health Minister Christian Dubé’s office said it would “dig deeper” to get to the bottom of it.