Nova Scotia hospital rewrites waiting time rules and end-of-life protocols

A Nova Scotia hospital has rewritten waiting time rules and end-of-life protocols in response to the disturbing story of how a dying 68-year-old man languished for hours in an ER hallway.

The Canadian Press has received an internal report on changes made by the Nova Scotia Health Authority after the saga of Jack Webb's treatment emerged in late April.

The report says that as of this summer, the Halifax Infirmary requires internal medicine specialists to meet their patients within two hours when transferred to the hospital.

That didn't happen in Webb's case, and after his wait, he was also bumped from various rooms due to hospital crowding and repeatedly asked by various staff if he would agree to a do-not-resuscitate order.

The review of his case has also resulted in changes to the training of medical students, who are working on methods of speaking to dying patients about their prognosis.

Jason MacLean, the president of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union, said the reforms are useful but he says he wonders why they haven't been in place for years.

He also says health staff are still telling him that hospital ERs remain as crowded as ever, though the health authority says some beds are being opened at other facilities in the city.