A mother, who says her 12-year-old daughter waited 10 hours in an emergency room to get checked for a head trauma, is urging other parents to complain about long waits.
Judy Schafer, who lives in Laval, Que., has filed a complaint with the ombudsman at the McGill University Health Centre after taking her daughter Alexandra Floyd to the children’s hospital after she fell down the stairs at a Montreal subway station on her way to school, striking her head on the edge of a step.
The school called Schafer when Alexandra developed a bad headache.
“I felt like someone was punching my inner head constantly. It hurt a lot,” she said.
Schafer says hospital staff dismissed her concerns. As the hours wore on, she grew more frustrated as children with flu-like symptoms were seen first. One father told her not to worry, Alexandra would be seen soon and that his child just had a tummy ache.
“As the day kept going on, he kept saying ‘I can’t believe you’re still sitting here. I can’t believe you’re still sitting here.’ And he got called in before.”
Alexandra says she felt worse the longer she sat in the noisy emergency department.
“It was getting worse, because there were so many people, like kids in there screaming and yelling and running around. It was just making me dizzy and my head was starting to hurt a lot more than it did before.”
Alexandra was eventually diagnosed with a concussion and is now recovering at home.
An MUHC spokesperson said in a statement to CTV Montreal: “We realize the wait times are extremely long and apologize for the situation. This is due to the increased number of patients who are presenting with flu and viral-like symptoms to the pediatric emergency department. The priority of any emergency department is to care for those who are severely ill and injured first.”
The hospital added that the capacity of the pediatric emergency department is 220 patients per day but with a busy flu season at its peak, it is receiving close to 300.
Schafer says she would understand waiting hours to be treated if her daughter had the flu.
“If I have to wait eight hours, I get it, I understand it, it makes sense, it’s a sore throat. But a head trauma? No, I will not accept that. I never will. And no parent should accept that,” she said.
“Other parents who are experiencing this type of treatment, come forward, because the government needs to know.”
Schafer said she’s been told the ombudsman’s findings will be available in 45 days.
-With a report from CTV Montreal’s Kelly Greig