Montreal General Hospital, with its ER from the 'dark ages,' to get $300M revamp

Quebec is investing millions into a modernization study of the Montreal General Hospital — where some emergency rooms are described as “third world” by leading trauma surgeon, Dr. David Mulder.​

Anglo network's trauma centre was built in 1956 and has not been renovated since

Dr. David Mulder said even though it will be years before work is done on the building, he's happy to see the renovation and expansion project at the Montreal General Hospital kick off. (CBC)

Quebec is ramping up to invest $300 million to renovate and expand the Montreal General Hospital.

It's starting by investing $2 million in a modernization study of the 62-year-old building — where some emergency rooms were described as from the "dark ages" by a leading trauma surgeon who works there, Dr. David Mulder.​

The General, part of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), is one of three ultra-specialized trauma centres in Quebec, and the only one in downtown Montreal. 

But the building the trauma centre now occupies opened in 1956, and its emergency and operating rooms have not been renovated since, said Mulder, the MUHC's director of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery. 

"It's an embarrassment for the patients, but mostly, for our nurses. The patients are so crowded they have difficulty walking between the beds," Mulder said. 
The teaching hospital is also a centre for mental health services, several kinds of medicine and a dozen surgical specialties, including orthopedics, opthamology, thoracic surgery and trauma.

However, Mulder said, four of the hospital's dozen operating rooms are closed because they are too small to work in.

He called the announcement "the most encouraging news we've had in a long time." 
Health Minister Gaétan Barrette said the English community had been asking for the modernization of the Montreal General Hospital's emergency and operating rooms for a long time. (CBC)

"The English community, I think, has been waiting for this announcement for a long while," said Health Minister Gaétan Barrette, who outlined the plan at the hospital Thursday.

Barrette said hospitals like the Montreal General were built to older standards and are "not as flexible for surgeons" as they should be. 

He didn't want to give a firm timeline as to when renovations or additions would be complete, but he said that after the study is done, construction will take a minimum of four years.

With files from Elias Abboud

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