The emergency rooms of the Rivière-Rouge hospital, located in the Laurentians, will have to remain open 24 hours a day, ruled the Quebec Court of Appeal, narrowly avoiding the evening and night closure which was to take place from 1er FEBRUARY.
Last December, the Integrated Health and Social Services Center (CISSS) of the Laurentides announced that due to lack of staff, emergency services at the Rivière-Rouge hospital would be offered from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. h from 1er FEBRUARY.
The Quebec Court of Appeal announced Thursday that emergency rooms must remain open at all times until February 19.
Me Carl-Éric Therrien, lawyer for the plaintiff, said he received an unfavorable injunction on Monday because he only met three of the four criteria for an injunction. He asked the Court of Appeal for a stay of closure of the file.
The plaintiff succeeded in demonstrating that the situation was urgent to intervene. She also argued that there is a serious color of right, claiming that there are rights that are devolved based on the Health and Social Services Act.
Me Therrien also demonstrated that the case meets the irreparable harm test, meaning that if an order is granted, irreparable harm could be suffered.
However, the trial judge declared that the CISSS Laurentides is supposed to act in the public interest, ensuring that the plaintiff did not meet the criterion on the balance of inconvenience of the order. The parties will return to court on February 19 to study this criterion.
Me Therrien declared that the decision gave hope to the citizens of Rivière-Rouge, who would have had to travel at least sixty kilometers to get to the nearest emergency room.
In particular, he spoke on the phone with a client suffering from breast cancer who needs to frequently go to the emergency room. She was happy with the news, even if “the fighter’s path is far from over,” mentioned M.e Therrien on the phone.
On Wednesday, the three opposition parties asked the Minister of Health, Christian Dubé, to reverse the decision of the CISSS des Laurentides to close the emergency room between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.
A petition to keep the emergency open launched by the 24 Hour Emergency Committee, having collected more than 8,500 signatures, was submitted by the head of Québec solidaire in health matters, Vincent Marissal.
He said he shared the concern of the people of the Rouge Valley, “who are on the verge of losing access to an essential service.” He denounced in a press release that traveling 80 km at night to get to Sainte-Agathe or 60 km to get to Mont-Laurier, “that doesn’t make sense.”
Mr. Marissal also emphasized that these two emergencies are among the busiest in Quebec.