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BC woman died on stretcher after being in waiting room for two days

BC woman died on stretcher after being in waiting room for two days

By Cosmin Dzsurdzsa

The July 11 death of an elderly woman who had to lie on a stretcher for two days at a North Vancouver hospital is being blamed on the developing health care crisis in Canada. 

Although the individual who died has not been confirmed officially, both Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) and the Health Ministry have publicly offered condolences to the family of the deceased. 

The woman first arrived at the hospital on July 9 complaining about heart complications and was taken to a stretcher in the waiting room by medical personnel due to no hospital beds being available at the time. 

While still in the crowded waiting room, the woman was found to have been unresponsive on July 11. 

According to one Lions Gate nurse who wishes to be anonymous, there were up to 17 others being monitored in the waiting room at the time. 

“Every single nurse, when they gave reports, said she’s really sweet,” the nurse told the Vancouver Sun.

“She’s with it, she’s understanding, she’s patient. Her daughter was here all the time. They’re lovely people. They weren’t getting angry at us. They understood. They were flexible. They were so lovely.”

After staff discovered the woman, she was taken to be resuscitated and had CPR unsuccessfully performed on her. 

When questioned about the incident, VCH offered scant details about what went wrong. 

“This individual was assessed by a physician and received care from staff at Lions Gate,” said a spokesperson noting that staff were working “to meet the health care needs of local communities.”

BC Nurses’ Union president Aman Grewal said that she was aware of the incident and noted that similar situations were happening across the province. 

“It’s not just isolated to Lions Gate. It’s happening with Royal Columbian. It’s happening at Eagle Ridge and Ridge Meadows. It’s happening everywhere, Surrey Memorial, Langley Memorial,” said Grewal.

In March, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) sounded the alarm that Canada’s health care system was collapsing. 

“On top of severe exhaustion and burnout from working through two years of COVID-19, health care workers now face both massive system backlogs and a shortage of colleagues to cope with demands,” the CMA wrote.

Despite the shortage of health care workers, tens of thousands of workers across Canada were terminated or disciplined for not being vaccinated against Covid-19. 

In October, it was revealed that BC decided to postpone surgeries and tests after placing 4,000 health care workers on unpaid leave due to their decision not to get vaccinated. 

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