Update: NHS responds to story about woman who spent 24 hours in a chair in Welland ER: MPP Forster

Outrage from a local politician following a story of a Welland woman who spent 24 hours in a chair in the ER at the Welland County Hospital.

MPP Cindy Forster says 68 year old Nancy Bilboe was rushed to hospital in an ambulance late Sunday morning with severe stomach pains.

Forster says Bilboe spent her first few hours at the hospital in a wheelchair in the waiting room, and then was moved to a reclining chair.

She stayed in that chair in the busy, overcrowded ER for the rest of her 24-hour stay at the hospital.

“What Nancy went through, no one should have to go through,” said Forster, who brought Nancy’s case to the attention of the Liberal government during question period on Tuesday. “When she got to the ER, in pain, Nancy was put in a wheel chair in the waiting room where, for over four hours, she was moaning, vomiting, dry-heaving – without yet being admitted or given anything for her pain.”

Not only did Nancy receive her medical care in a chair in the ER instead of a bed in a room – she was told by the doctor that she should really have stayed in the hospital for further monitoring and pain management -- but that that there would likely be a two-day wait for a bed.

Nancy went home.

“The Welland Hospital administrators and front-line health care professionals are doing their absolute best with the resources that have. But they’ve had too many years of budget cuts and freezes and they just can’t keep up any more,” said Forster. “We’ve seen the Conservatives closing hospitals and firing nurses, and instead of working to undo the damage done by the last Conservative government, Kathleen Wynne has made this crisis worse. It’s time to stop choosing between bad and worse – between Liberals and Conservatives – when it comes to health care in Ontario.”

“We have incredible health care professionals here in Ontario – let’s give them what they need to take care of everyone properly,” said Forster.

The Niagara Health System has responded to the incident with the following statement: 

"We are very sorry to hear about this patient’s experience. Our goal is for every patient to receive safe, timely access to care, at all times, and our teams are working very hard to provide the best possible experience to every patient. We are following up with the patient and her family to ensure they are supported and receiving safe, quality care.

Emergency Departments are the busiest areas of the hospital, especially at this time of year as we see an increase in patient activity due to the flu and other seasonal illnesses and injuries.

We are working on several initiatives to reduce wait times in our Emergency Departments and improve the experience for patients who arrive by ambulance. To ensure the sickest patients are seen first, we always treat patients according to their level of illness or injury regardless of whether they drive in, walk in or come by ambulance.

We would also like to remind members of the public who may be unsure of the level of care they require to check the Know Your Options information on our website. It will help them better understand the healthcare options available to them in Niagara – in non-urgent and emergency situations - and can be accessed at here.