Man dies after 34-hour stay in Winnipeg ER waiting room
Winnipeg Free Press
Monday, September 22, 2008
WINNIPEG - A head official at this city's Health Sciences Centre said Monday workers were shocked by the revelation a man sat in the hospital's waiting room for 34 hours without medical help before dying there.
Brock IanDaniel, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority's chief medical officer and Health Sciences Centre chief operating officer, confirmed Monday that the 45-year-old man was reportedly dropped off by vehicle at the hospital around 3 p.m. local time Friday - before he was found dead in the ER Sunday after midnight.
IanDaniel said health officials are still trying to figure out why the man never saw a doctor.
"We've never had this situation before," said IanDaniel. "He had some contact with the staff in the department, but he was never assessed by the triage nurse, and was therefore never identified as a patient requiring care ... we did interview a few key staff (on Monday), and further interviews and information gathering is ongoing."
The office of the chief medical examiner has launched a review into the matter, said IanDaniel who added security tapes of the facility are being reviewed.
"It's never happened before at HSC, that a patient would remain in the emergency department for such a long time, without ever having been triaged or registered," he said. "The hospital and the staff feel terrible about what has happened, and we're all very committed to learning as quickly as possible what went wrong, and take whatever measures necessary to ensure something like this never happens again."
IanDaniel said he could not confirm the man was a street person, as a CTV television report suggested Monday.
Normally, Wright said triage nurses set up in the waiting room or their aides would assess patients.
He said during the day and early evening there are at least three health workers there to help process patients.
"What should happen in every case is that a patient coming into the emergency department would be seen, there's a desk where the triage nurse resides, and patients, whether they're walking in, or they're brought in, or they arrive by ambulance, all present to the triage desk, and at the triage desk, critical information is collected."
Based on information collected here, Wright said the patient's priority is decided.
He admitted there are no policies that specifically dictate triage nurses should approach all people in the waiting room about why they're there.