A four-year-old youngster with Down syndrome spent about 40 hours in an Ontario emergency room after coming down with a severe respiratory sickness, one thing her mom calls “completely ridiculous” and “unacceptable.”
It was round 2:30 a.m. on Nov. 9 when Jasmine, a resident in the Woodbridge, Ont., space, mentioned she referred to as 911. Her younger daughter’s fever wouldn’t break and he or she was throwing up each hour.
CTV News Toronto has agreed to solely use Jasmine’s first identify to guard her id.
The pair was transported to Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital, a brand new facility that opened as much as sufferers in 2021. The hospital has mentioned in latest weeks it has been grappling with an inflow of “sicker” sufferers, which has resulted in it working at over capability, significantly in their pediatric unit.
“We didn’t wait long before we got to triage,” Jasmine advised CTV News Toronto on the telephone. “I think I saw a doctor within an hour or so of showing up in (the emergency department).”
But that’s when Jasmine says the method slowed down. She mentioned the physician ordered blood work and X-rays, which confirmed the kid had pneumonia, and the household was advised the four-year-old must keep in a single day.
Around 8 a.m. they had been moved from the examination space to the hallway, the place they waited for about 4 to 5 hours.
“She got tired and was really sleepy. We had nowhere to lie down so I had to use two chairs and some blankets and make a bed for her,” Jasmine mentioned. During this time, she mentioned a nurse did attend to her daughter, together with when she threw up on the ground.
A four-year-old youngster sleeps in a makeshift mattress at Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital in November 2022. (Photos offered)
It wasn’t till a distinct employees member noticed the makeshift mattress that the household was moved right into a shared room with one other teenager. Jasmine mentioned the room had a recliner chair for every affected person, separated by Plexiglass.
By this level, she says, her daughter’s oxygen ranges had dropped.
“They had to put a mask on her face,” Jasmine mentioned. “It’s while we were in that room the test came back that she is positive for RSV.”
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a standard respiratory virus that significantly impacts younger kids. An improve in the sickness throughout Canada, in addition to an increase in influenza and COVID-19 circumstances, is contributing to an overburdened health-care system, significantly in pediatric hospitals.
After studying of the prognosis, Jasmine mentioned she and her daughter had been moved as soon as once more to a different room throughout the emergency division, the place the kid was lastly given a mattress. Jasmine slept in a spare chair.
Around 6 p.m. on Nov. 10—about 40 hours after they first referred to as 911—the household was transferred to a mattress in the overall ward of the hospital.
“At one point I asked them to take us to SickKids (Hospital) because, I’m like, ‘This is ridiculous,’” Jasmine mentioned. “They said to me that Sick Kids didn’t have any beds.”
A four-year-old youngster waits in the emergency room at Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital on Nov. 9, 2022. (Provided by household)
Children’s hospitals throughout Ontario have been reporting a big rise in sufferers as a consequence of respiratory viruses, with SickKids saying earlier this month that it was placing some surgical procedures on maintain to “preserve critical care capacity.”
In a Nov. 11 assertion, the hospital mentioned its ICU census has been not less than 127 per cent above capability for a number of days.
Ontario has a complete of 112 intensive care beds for youngsters.
‘OVERCROWDED IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT’
Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital is a $1.7-billion facility that opened up in February 2021 under Mackenzie Health. It has about 350 beds and its website says the hospital is “home to specialized programs including Woman and Child, Inpatient Mental Health and Inpatient Stroke.”
Jasmine said while the staff was responsive and continually working, there were just too many patients to deal with and the hospital felt “disorganized.”
“For the whole time that I was there, my heart was in my hands honestly,” she said. “It’s not on the doctors. It’s not on the nurses. If I was working that job I would quit.”
She noted there appeared to be a lot of staff members who were students and she was told they could not make any decisions about her child’s care.
In an announcement, a spokesperson for (*40*) Health mentioned its emergency departments and pressing care centres have “seen higher patient volumes than ever before.”
“We’re operating over capacity and many of the people coming to us for care are very sick – including an increasing number of children,” they mentioned.
“We’re doing our best to triage patients as quickly as possible. We aim for less than two hours to initially see a doctor and we have been able to maintain that on average, but there have been days recently where it is unfortunately longer. Sometimes patients might also need medical imaging scans or blood work that gets sent to the lab – these take time and may contribute to what feels like an even longer wait time.”
(*40*) Health additionally mentioned as a result of sufferers are “coming in sicker,” many should be admitted, contributing to an extended look forward to inpatient care.
“Even though we’ve increased capacity in our pediatric unit, the Emergency Department is currently acting as a surge space when there are more children needing care than we have beds available. At times we have surged above 250 per cent of our admitted pediatric bed capacity,” they said.
“Long wait times and caring for patients in temporary surge spaces are not the experience we want for our patients, but they are a reality right now.”
Wait occasions in Ontario emergency rooms reached a file excessive in September, with sufferers spending a mean of 21.3 hours ready to be admitted.
The provincial Liberal Party even referred to as that month “the worst September on record extending all the way back to 2008.”
Health Minister Sylvia Jones advised CTV News Toronto in an announcement the federal government is in “constant contact” with pediatric hospitals to make sure sufferers obtain the care they want. She additionally mentioned that hospitals have been directed to make use of grownup hospital capability to assist the pediatric items.
“We are taking a team Ontario approach, and have increased hospital capacity across the board by adding over 3,500 new critical care, acute and post-acute hospital beds,” Jones mentioned Tuesday.
“We know emergency department volumes have been increasing year over year. We are not okay with the status quo. That is why we have invested in health human resources, freed up beds across the province and expanded 911 models of care to address wait times as demand rises heading into the fall and winter season.”
For Jasmine, she mentioned concrete motion must be taken not solely to cut back wait occasions, but in addition to alleviate the burden on overworked health-care professionals.
“Forty hours in the ER was just completely ridiculous for a four-year-old. It’s unacceptable.”