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Emergency concerns

I am from Ottawa, Ont., visiting my wife's family in Noggin Cove. My wife decided to bring me to my first Demolition Derby on July 31.

While at the derby, my wife, who is 16 weeks pregnant, experienced a loss of consciousness and fainted in my arms. It took approximately 10 minutes (with about five spectators looking for help) to access help from the first aid crew. 

I am a Registered Nurse and asked the first aid personnel if they could please get an ambulance to take us to the hospital. One of them ran to the two ambulances available at the derby (took approximately five minutes). When she returned, she said they were not available to the spectators only to the drivers in the derby (even though the first round had just finished and there was a break in the schedule). These ambulances are provided by the James Paton Memorial Hospital that is part of the Central Health Authority.

When I heard this, I was quite distraught to think that these health professionals could refuse to help in a situation.

With my wife not able to walk because of her weakness, we had to find our own way out of the derby pit to get to our vehicle. It took another 10 minutes for someone to find a vehicle to help my wife out of the pit area to take us to the parking area (thanks to the man driving the Toyota courtesy van).

We made it to the hospital in the end, but I would like Central Health and Gander City Council to review the role of emergency services personnel available to the spectators of any further events. This level of help is unacceptable, substandard and very archaic.

Another issue was at the emergency department at the James Paton Memorial Hospital. I have concern in how you are able to properly triage a patient’s acuity level using the Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS). When first entering the hospital, we had to wait approximately 15 minutes in a line to get registered. This process then took about 10 minutes since we were from out of province. We were then sent to a waiting room where we waited for more than an hour to see what I believe to be a Triage Nurse (two to three patients ahead of us).

I believe that all patients entering the Emergency Department should be seen by a triage nurse to determine the patients CTAS score in order for patients that require immediate attention be seen immediately. I am not sure if you are relying on a registration clerk to make a clinical decision. If so, this practice should be stopped immediately. If not, taking over one hour to triage four patients is also unacceptable and substandard.

I can see that you have made some advances your clinical information services such as barcoding and scanning of the electronic health record, which is very commendable. I believe that your senior management should look at its priorities and improve upon its clinical services prior to improving on information services. When making priorities in health services, the patient’s needs need to be made the central concern.

By writing this letter, I am hoping that I can enlighten Central Health Services in order to prevent similar occurrences in the future

Domenic Ielo


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