The awful death of Jack Webb: Wife tells how crowded hospital failed her husband

A Halifax woman says overcrowding at the city's largest hospital left her husband suffering a series of indignities and delayed care during his last days of life.

Kim D'Arcy says her 68-year-old husband, Jack Webb, languished for six hours in a chilly emergency-room hallway at the Halifax Infirmary, had a broken IV in his arm, and was bumped from his room by another dying patient.

She says that shortly before Webb's Feb. 1st death, they even heard a staffer yell not to resuscitate him if he stopped breathing.

Dr. Alan Drummond, a spokesman for the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians, says his death is an example of ``the distinct level of human suffering associated with crowded emergency departments and crowded hospitals'' plaguing Canadian medicare.

Canadian emergency rooms are increasingly issuing special ``codes'' indicating they're too full, a process that sets off a domino effect where gravely ill people like Webb are pushed into regular hospital units already operating beyond capacity.

After being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that had spread into his adrenal glands and liver, Webb was admitted Jan. 27th to the Infirmary's downtown emergency department.