Thursday, September 18, 2008

Montreal Children's ER Sees Spike In Respiratory Illness

Montreal Children's Hospital

From CBC News:

The Montreal Children's Hospital says its ER is overloaded with patients suffering from respiratory illnesses.

The Hospital has treated twice as many patients on a daily basis as usual, said Dr. Blair Whittemore.

"Our normal load might be between 160 and 180 [patients], but we're exceeding that on a pretty regular basis at the present time," with as many as 250 patients showing up at the ER every day, said the acting director of professional services.

He said the surge is due in part to an increased number of asthma cases. "We haven't even hit November, when we expect to see an increase in the number of respiratory illnesses in particular," Whittemore said.

The higher number of asthma cases is probably due to a lack of access to family doctors, he suggested.

Montreal Children's also has a nurse shortage right now, which is stretching staff.

The hospital has reorganized staffing to ease the situation, but the problem won't resolve itself in the long-term, he said.

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