The family of an elderly Quebec woman who died in hospital after waiting six hours in the emergency room to see a doctor has filed a complaint with the facility.

Last Tuesday, Therese de Repentigny's daughter took her to the hospital after she began complaining of pain. De Repentigny, 78, was seen by a triage nurse and then told to wait.

De Repentigny's daughter, Fernande Blais, says her mother got up from her hospital stretcher several times, asking to see a doctor. However, she was repeatedly told she would have to wait.

"No one came. The entire night was spent that way," Blais told CTV Montreal.

Shortly before midnight, de Repentigny was scheduled for blood work and an ultrasound, but first she wanted to use the bathroom.

When she got up she grabbed the wall, telling her daughter she wasn't feeling well before collapsing to the floor. Blais called for help, and eventually had to leave her mother's side to find a doctor.

As doctors treated de Repentigny, Blais stepped outside. But it wasn't long before hospital staff asked her about her mother's last wishes. She realized then that her mother had died.

Meanwhile, Johanne Blais, Fernande's sister, had driven in from Magog and was shown to a room where staff had placed her mother's body. Staff had not told Johanne that her mother was dead, which she only realized after she went to stroke her mother's hair.

"When I approached her to kiss her, I realized she felt cold," Johanne said.

Hospital staff declined to speak about the case, citing the complaint filed by the family. The family says no one from the facility has contacted them with any information about de Repentigny's death.

Patients' rights advocate Paul Brunet says that while most patients admitted to hospital are treated well, chronic emergency room overcrowding makes it difficult for some patients to be seen.

"Why, how was that lady selected to wait that amount of time?"

The case comes a month after police in Winnipeg announced they had launched an investigation to see if criminal charges are warranted in connection with the death of a homeless man, who died after waiting for 34 hours in a local hospital's waiting room.

Brian Sinclair, a double amputee who used a wheelchair, died waiting to be seen for a bladder infection at the Health Sciences Centre in September 2008.

Sinclair's family has filed a $1.1-million lawsuit against the regional health authority, the Manitoba government and the medical staff on shift at the time of his death. An inquest is also to be held.

With a report from CTV Montreal's Derek Conlon