Poor lady…this is absolutely ridiculous!!
When Doreen Wallace fell and broke her hip in the lobby of a Niagara Falls hospital, she figured at least she’d get help — and fast.
But that’s not what happened. Instead, the 82-year-old Wallace — who was leaving with her son after visiting her dying husband at Greater Niagara General Hospital on Oct. 8 — was told by staff no one could help her until an ambulance was called. To a hospital.
“It was horrible. It really was. Everybody who walked through the door stopped and stared at me,” said Wallace, who already had a broken arm from a previous fall. She ended up spending almost 30 minutes on the ground.
“I was inside the hospital. Why did they have to wait for an ambulance to come and pick me up?” As she lay face down on a metal grate, her right arm slashed, a security guard called for help and two nurses from the emergency room came over. But Wallace’s son said they refused to help until paramedics arrived.
“I was floored,” said Mike Wallace. “We’re probably, maybe, like a 50-yard walk, literally, down to the emergency department.”
In the meantime, Wallace’s head was wrapped in a dirty blanket and the security guard helped wipe away her blood with paper towel.
Eventually, an orthopedic surgeon came across the scene and with the help of an assistant, moved the elderly woman into a wheelchair. Shortly afterwards, paramedics finally arrived at the main entrance — their ambulance allegedly originating in St. Catharines because no one at the hospital in Niagara Falls was available to help.
The supervisor of the Niagara Health System said the incident stemmed from a communication problem among staff.
“We shouldn’t have called the emergency room,” said Dr. Kevin Smith, who was hired on to aid the beleaguered region at the end of August.
He said when a person is hurt in hospital, staff should call a “code,” meaning a team — not necessarily in the ER — is paged to help immediately.
When asked why staff felt the need to call for an ambulance, Smith said that may have been an old rule at the hospital. He said staff has now been briefed on the correct policy and a review is underway.
Health Minister Deb Matthews said the situation is unacceptable. “Clearly this is very disappointing and isn’t the standard of care that people should expect,” she said, adding she is pleased a review is being done.
No comment. That is absolutely crazy.
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