An Edmonton woman whose mother died last last June says that times posted online by Alberta Health Services may not be a reliable indicator of how long you might wait to see a doctor.
When her 80-year-old mother Deloris told her she needed to go to the hospital, Lynn Morrison checked Edmonton emergency room wait times using the AHS app on her smartphone.
"It told me the wait time for the Grey Nuns[hospital] was 15 or 18 minutes," Morrison said.
Deloris Morrison was admitted shortly after she was assessed by a triage nurse at the Grey Nuns emergency room.
After another nurse took her medical history, Deloris endured another four to five hours in excruciating pain before a doctor was available to prescribe morphine, her daughter said.
"She was literally begging God: 'Please make it stop, please make it stop,'" Lynn Morrison said. "She would turn to me and [say] 'When are they coming? Why aren't they coming? "
Deloris Morrison died several hours after getting a second dose of morphine.
"I truly believe she would have passed away regardless that night," Lynn Morrison said. "But it would have been nice had she done it pain-free."
The family not only received a verbal apology from the hospital. Morrison says she was told that the online wait time doesn't indicate how long it will take to see a doctor.
Instead it shows how long before a patient makes their first contact with a health care worker.
Morrison believes that was when someone ordered lab work for her mother about 15 or 20 minutes after they arrived at the hospital.
"But that's not what I was expecting when I consulted the app," she said.
Although Morrison was told otherwise, AHS spokesman Kerry Williamson says that the online information does indicate the wait time for a doctor.
However, he says circumstances could change by the time a patient arrives at the hospital so the numbers will never be completely accurate.
"It's a good tool for the public, as long as they don't basically treat it as gospel," he said.
The Morrison family is asking for a written report into Deloris' death and the reasons why she suffered for so long.