Sudbury patient kept in hospital bathroom for 13 days, MPP says

A Sudbury Ont., man recently spent almost two weeks in a hospital bathroom while being treated for a back injury, according to a local member of provincial parliament.

Hospital has been at an average of 116% capacity since January, CEO says

Nickel Belt MPP France Gelinas says a Sudbury, Ont., man recently spent 13 days in a hospital bathroom while he was a patient at Health Sciences North. (Supplied/France Gelinas)

A Sudbury Ont., man recently spent almost two weeks in a hospital bathroom while being treated for a back injury, according to a local member of provincial parliament. 

France Gelinas — the Nickel Belt MPP and health critic for Ontario's NDP — says her friend and neighbour was admitted to Health Sciences North on Feb. 4 and "spent 13 days in a small, cramped bathroom with a toilet directly behind his head."

She referred to the man only as "Leo" and said he is in his 70s. CBC News has not been able to contact him. 

Photos taken by Gelinas show a hospital bed wedged into a tiled room, next to a toilet and a bathtub. Other patients were not allowed to use that bathroom during his stay, Gelinas said. 

"When I visited him, I couldn't believe where he was being forced to receive his medical care," Gelinas said during question period in the provincial legislature.

"I wondered if it was even sanitary," she added, calling on the Liberal government to address overcrowding in Ontario's hospitals, which is an especially persistent problem in the Sudbury area. 

Premier Kathleen Wynne said her government is taking steps to address health-care problems in Ontario.

"It's unacceptable if there is a patient who is relegated to an inappropriate space," Wynne said.

Health minister Eric Hoskins also said the province is working with individual hospitals to determine what's needed.

"We added 16 new beds to Health Sciences North. We increased their budget last year by $6 million," he said.

"I'm not saying that they're not facing capacity challenges, partly because of the season that we're in… a very bad flu season."

'Capacity challenges'

In a statement to CBC News, Health Sciences North CEO and president Dominic Giroux said the hospital is over capacity.

"Due to the high rates of influenza illness in the community this season, we have experienced a constant demand for acute care beds and maintained an average of 116 per cent occupancy since January," he said.

"We understand this is not ideal for the patient experience."

Giroux added that 41 of HSN's current patients are waiting on long-term care beds in the community.

​"As our region's population ages over the next decade, this population will require more community care, rehabilitation care and long term care," he said. 

Other patients were not allowed to use that bathroom during the man's stay, Gelinas said. (Supplied/France Gelinas)

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