Labrador senior waits 10 hours in emergency room without care for broken arm

The health authority has apologized to the family of an injured senior in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

Health Authority apologizes to Pauline Andersen and her family, reviewing what happened

Pauline Andersen, 81, did get her cast on the next day and is recovering, but her family feels the wait time was unacceptable. (Submitted)

A Happy Valley-Goose Bay woman says changes are needed in the emergency department at the local hospital after her 81-year-old mother waited 10 hours with a broken arm and went home without being treated.

"You don't have to be a nurse to know that arm was broken," Ros Andersen told CBC News on Monday. 

Andersen said her mother, Pauline Andersen, took herself to hospital at about 3 p.m. Friday and waited for care until 1 a.m. before leaving.

This is what Pauline Andersen's broken and swollen arm looked like as she waited to be seen in the ER. (submitted)

"I don't know why [the nurse that is there] can't tend to the patients and let them know what's going on," she said. 

"Why can't they come out and say, 'We've got an emergency here, it's going to be a long wait' but in the meantime put some ice on it or put it up, they can do that much, right?" 

Andersen said her mother had to ask another waiting patient to help remove her wedding ring from her swollen finger. 

"When you got an elderly person there with a break, without any pain medication whatsoever, that's not right," she said.

Went home without being treated

Pauline Andersen, who is diabetic, went home around 1:30 a.m. Saturday, without being seen. She posted her concerns about the long wait to social media, and the reaction was sympathetic.

It's horrible for someone to sit there for that long and not have anyone come out and tell them what's going on.- Ros  Andersen

Her daughter thinks that was why her mother was seen quickly when they got back to the emergency room the next morning.

"This time they did put ice on it. They done some things to make her comfortable."

But Andersen said there were still issues communicating with staff while her mother was waiting for X-rays.

"There's nobody there, there's two locked doors," she said.

"It's horrible for someone to sit there for that long and not have anyone come out and tell them what's going on."

Ros Andersen said its important to speak out about what's happening in the hospital. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Andersen said she knocked on the doors several times, but no one responded.

"There needs to be something to let people know because when you're waiting there and you don't know anything it gets very frustrating."

It's not the first time the family has had a bad experience with the health-care system.

They spoke publicly about the area's ambulance service in May, 2017 after Andersen's uncle, Louie Montague, had a stroke and waited for an ambulance for over an hour. He later died.

"We got some attention and it improved," Andersen said. "Hopefully, something needs to be done with that emergency."

The Labrador-Grenfell Health Authority has apologized to the Andersen family and said it is reviewing the case. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

​Labrador-Grenfell Health issued a statement Monday afternoon saying it is aware of the family's concerns about wait times at the Labrador Health Centre.

"Labrador-Grenfell Health apologizes for the delay and is currently reviewing the situation. The Health Authority commits to sharing the results of the investigation with the client and their family directly," it wrote in an email to CBC News.

About the Author

Jacob Barker

Videojournalist

Jacob Barker reports on Labrador for CBC News from Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

With files from Lisa Gushue