A movement is growing against the partial closure of the Lachine hospital emergency room scheduled for November 7.
Dozens of people gathered in front of the hospital on a rainy Saturday morning to express their frustration and anger at the terrible state of the institution that they care deeply about.
“We love our team. We love our hospital, ”said Dr. Liliana Díaz, Lachine’s emergency physician. “He makes our lives run to help these people.
The McGill University Health Center, which runs Lachine Hospital, says its emergency room will be closed during the evening hours beginning Nov. 7. There is no precise timetable for a reopening.
Doctors who work there say patients will suffer.
READ MORE: Lachine Hospital to Slash ER Hours, Officials Blame ‘Critical’ Staff Shortage
“If they knock on a door after eight or seven or whatever, and their situation is not considered critical enough. Well, they’ll go home, ”said Dr. Andrew Khalil, Lachine’s emergency room physician. He said many patients who come to the hospital live in underserved areas of Lachine and come to the hospital on foot.
The closure is due to a severe shortage of nurses and respiratory therapists. Doctors say nurses have been doing extra work to make up for the shortage, but the situation has gotten worse.
“We really have a lack of respiratory therapists,” explained Dr. Danielle de Jong. “Our nurses managed to fill the holes, but it is true that we cannot operate safely without our respiratory therapists.”
Doctors have harsh words for hospital administrators.
“It is a misuse of staff,” said Dr. Ashwin Sairam.
READ MORE: Lachine Hospital cuts nightly emergency services
The lure of working in more modern hospitals in the city center has already affected Lachine’s staff over the years, but doctors say mismanagement has also alienated people.
Staff who want to work in the ER are being sent to work in Lachine’s long-term care wing.
“We are forcing people to work somewhere they don’t want to. We know that doesn’t work, ”De Jong said.
“By the time the problem is really apparent to the central administration, it is too late,” Khalil said.
Lachine Hospital to Close Emergency Room Amid Staff Shortage
Saturday’s rally was organized by Lachine Mayor Maja Vodanovic, and Lachine MNA Enrico Ciccone also attended.
“We are here to connect, get to know each other, learn and then create a task force so that we can keep it open,” said Vodanovic.
The nurses who worked at Lachine Hospital did not want to appear on camera for fear of losing their jobs, but one told Global News that she likes it and wants to continue working there.
However, like many, she feels that cutting back on emergency services will only make it harder to retain staff.
Lachine Hospital reduces emergency room hours
“They are going to feel compelled to go somewhere else when we close. There won’t be enough shifts for them, ”Diaz said. Several doctors feel the closure will only make things worse for the hospital in the long run.
The MUHC says it hopes to reopen the emergency department in a few weeks, but doctors aren’t convinced.
“We don’t feel like we are moving toward a solution that will help us work in a safe environment with enough respiratory therapists and be able to serve the Lachine community,” De Jong said.
“The nurses we lost, can we get them back? The Respiratory Therapists We Lost – Can We Get Them Back? Is there any way for them to come back? We really don’t believe it, ”Diaz said.
While everyone in the demo is committed to finding a solution, some are concerned that this could be the beginning of the end not just for the ER, but for the entire Lachine Hospital.
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