Health authority, nurses union at odds over patient death
Published Thursday, November 7, 2019 6:33PM CST
Last Updated Thursday, November 7, 2019 7:07PM CST
SASKATOON -- A recent patient death at Royal University Hospital emergency department was not due to the care they were given, Health Minister Jim Reiter said.
He made the comments in the Legislature on Thursday in response to a claim by Saskatchewan Union of Nurses president Tracy Zambory that the patient died due to overcapacity and understaffing.
“I don’t go where Tracy got her information, as I said in the House I got my information from officials at (Saskatchewan Health Authority) that are relying on the doctors and other medical professionals that reviewed it,” Reiter said.
Reiter added this doesn’t mean overcrowding and understaffing issues don’t exist, and those issues are concerning to the ministry.
Zambory reiterated to CTV News that the situation did occur due to overcrowding.
"There was understaffing in the emergency room, the patient came in, presented, then was not able, because of short-staffing and overcapacity, to be taken to the next level to be given that next step of emergency care and ended up back in an area not appropriate for that person,” Zambory said.
She wouldn’t comment on the specific details of where and when the death occurred out of respect for privacy for the family affected.
“Because my members that were there during the incident told me so and I believe them 100 per cent.”
On Wednesday the SHA told CTV News in a statement the death occurred at Royal University Hospital and that a critical incident review was initiated in October in response. The health authority says the outcome of a critical incident review is not made public.
“Critical incident reviews are initiated when there is a rare or uncommon occurrence in a medical environment and this begins immediately after an incident,” the SHA said. “The purpose of these reviews is to determine if there is a known harm caused or potential for harm."
SUN is calling on the provincial government and the SHA to meet with the union in hopes of developing a solution to capacity issues at hospitals.
The Saskatchewan NDP this week released internal SHA memos with the subject line "Extreme overcapacity crisis in Saskatoon."
The SHA said in response that it has activated a command centre in Saskatoon as a result of overcapacity at the city's hospitals, in particular RUH and St. Paul's Hospial.
The command centre includes physicians, nurses, support staff and managers, according to the SHA.