'It was inhumane': Daughters say mother went into cardiac arrest in hot hospital room
Jackie Dunham, CTVNews.ca
Published Friday, July 6, 2018 11:21AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, July 6, 2018 11:44AM EDT
The daughters of a woman who went into cardiac arrest while she was staying in a sweltering Quebec hospital room say they were told by staff to remove the portable A/C unit they brought in to ease her discomfort.
Effie and Bessie Tsatoumas said their mother was admitted to Sacre Coeur Hospital in Montreal three weeks ago for pneumonia. As the province grappled with a deadly heat wave that contributed to the deaths of 50 people, the women said their mother’s room didn’t have air conditioning or even a fan.
“It was really bad,” Effie told CTV News Channel from Blainville, Que. on Friday. “It was inhumane, the conditions in the hospital with no air conditioning. It was very, very stressful.”
At one point, Effie said the room reached an unbearable 33 C inside. Bessie said they watched as their mother struggled to cope in the extreme heat.
“She could not sit. She was very restless,” Bessie said. “She was swelling up and she was extremely weak.”
In an attempt to help her, Effie said the head nurse allowed them to hook up a portable A/C unit in the room. Shortly after, the women said another nurse told them they weren’t allowed to have it and ordered them to remove it.
“They called the security on us to disconnect it and to take it off. We said, ‘Call the cops. We don’t care,’” Effie said.
The women said the A/C unit hardly helped anyway because the hot air from the hallway kept seeping inside the room.
Bessie said she even found it hard to breathe in the hallway.
Eventually, their mother started to suffer from dehydration and her organs began to fail. On Wednesday, she went into cardiac arrest and was transferred to the intensive care unit – one of the few areas in the hospital with air conditioning.
“You have to end up in an ICU to get treatment with an A/C unit in these hospitals,” Effie said. “It’s crazy.”
Frederic Cossette, the director of technical services at the hospital, told CTV Montreal that $10 million has been spent on upgrading the building’s electric system, but they still can’t support an air conditioning system. He said all of the electrical panels are fully loaded and they don’t have enough power to cool all of the patient rooms.
Effie and Bessie said their mother is currently in stable condition and she is improving a little bit every day.
With files from CTV Montreal