Emergency Room Closures

Emergency rooms throughout Canada are approaching and, in some instances, have passed crisis levels. As one emergency room physician puts it, the health system is not collapsing but has “already collapsed”.

“The wait times are exceedingly long. Nurses are overwhelmed by the number of orders that they’re being asked to carry out… There is no metric or no nothing that your eyes can’t see as a patient or family member in the ER that says the system has not anything but collapsed as we know it.”

Emergency rooms throughout the country have temporarily closed, at different times, throughout the past few months. Rural communities, with fewer staff, are hit even harder, but urban communities are also experiencing closures.

According to the president of the Canadian Medical association (CMA), the issues are complex, but a key issue is the shortage of health care staff, primarily nurses. Emergency rooms are facing unprecedented demand right now. The frightening part about this is that summer time is usually a slow time. What is helping to drive up the demand this year is COVID’s seventh wave.

Kashif Pirzada, the emergency room physician referred to earlier, states that the ongoing COVID waves, produces health staff stress and burn out leading to resignations, leading to shortages. Pirzada adds that govenments and the public have gone too far in doing away with measures such as masking and physical distancing. He has concerns that this is just a “dress rehearsal” for the fall and winter where cases will increase. I am not even going to bring in the politics of this because there are certain politicians (deniers) that will pander to their base and make things worse.

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