Woman's death to change emergency procedures
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority plans to change its emergency room procedures because an elderly woman died after waiting six hours to see a doctor.
On September 25, Dorothy Madden went to St. Boniface Hospital. Madden didn't see a doctor until her heart failed and she was dying.
Madden was not given tests, such as an electrocardiogram exam, which measure heart disease.
Hospital officials say she did not exhibit classic symptoms of a heart attack.
Dr. Brock Wright, the chief medical officer for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, says immediate medical attention wouldn't have saved Madden's life, but he isn't satisfied with the way the case was handled.
"Was it a failure of the system that she had to wait six hours before being assessed by an emergency physician? Yes, that's something that we're not satisfied with," says Wright. "We are looking to see what changes we can make in terms of how patients are processed to see how patients are managed to see if we can improve on that."
Madden's death is stirring up political waves. Tory health critic Myrna Driedger says the case gives Manitobans little reason to trust the health system.
"There is no excuse. I don't care what hospital you end up with," says Driedger. "If you're an elderly woman with chest pain and you're going to a hospital, you should have been seen by a doctor. You don't wait for six hours and not be seen by a doctor."
Dr. Wright says new rules are being developed about administering tests in emergency rooms and reassessing patients waiting for care.
An external investigation by the province's chief medical examiner is under way, with a report expected within the next two months.