Sudbury·Audio

Growing number of Sudbury hospital deaths buck provincial trend

Some new health care statistics reveal an alarming trend in Sudbury, Ont.

Northern Ontario patients wait longer for health care, hospital official says

SA health research agency says the number of hospital deaths at Health Sciences North in Sudbury is higher than expected. (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)
Recent health statistics show patients are dying at Health Sciences North in higher numbers than considered acceptable. We had the Chief of Staff at HSN, Dr. Chris Bourdon, in studio to explain the numbers.

Some new health care statistics reveal an alarming trend in Sudbury, Ont.

The Canadian Institute for Health Information reports the number of deaths at Health Sciences North is higher than expected.

The hospital's chief of staff said he's not entirely sure why there has been an increase.

Dr. Chris Bourdon said a number of factors contribute to higher mortality rates.

“If you come to the hospital sicker, because you haven't received care prior to getting to the hospital, there's a higher chance you're going to have complications. And one of those complications unfortunately is death."

Bourdon said the introduction of diabetes and congestive heart failure clinics in Sudbury, as well as a program to help the frail elderly, should be improving peoples' health.

Across the country, the trend in hospital deaths is down by 18 per cent over the past five years.

Bourdon said the report is basically a trend indicator: hospitals with a number of deaths below 100 are doing well. Sudbury comes in above — at 113.

He said he’s puzzled why the number in Sudbury is high, and has been rising.

“That's the million dollar question, I guess. I think they're going up because of the burden of illness when patients come to us.”

Northerners wait longer for health care and are sicker when they get it, which is why he said more health promotion is part of the solution.

A worker with the Sudbury and District Health Unit agreed.

Michelle Lim said exercising is one of the most important ways to lighten the burden of illness.

“Being able to move around and enjoy your body movements help your bones get stronger, [helps your] joints, [and] improves balance,” she said.   

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