An  emergency room doctor told Alberta's queue-jumping inquiry Wednesday of a request to move a VIP to the front of the line.


Emergency room Dr. Paul Parks told Alberta's queue-jumping inquiry of a request to move a VIP to the front of the line. (CBC)

Dr. Paul Parks was testifying at the inquiry looking into whether some prominent Albertans were allowed to get preferential treatment in the health-care system.

"The executive on call called down to the triage nurse and essentially indicated that there was a VIP in the waiting room and that VIP should be moved into an emergency department bed immediately and taken care of," he told the inquiry.

The VIP was examined by a nurse and a waiting-room physician at the request of the "executive on call," or senior administrator, and put back into the queue, Parks said.

On the day in question in November 2007, the ER was overcrowded with patients, some who had been waiting up to four or five hours, he said.

"We had a lot of very sick patients in our waiting room, staff were trying to move into the emergency department, " Parks said.

Parks says there was consensus among the emergency group that they could not entertain requests for preferential access and must see patients based on medical need.

The executive on call had previously shown no understanding of how overcrowded the emergency department was, how dangerously unsafe it was, nor the processes of trying to find beds in the hospital, Parks said.

The inquiry continues this week.