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‘Best care’ impossible in stressed emergency

7 0 0
12.01.2019

The social media post was terse, likely written in haste, but it captured the frustration, desperation and anger of a doctor struggling to do what she trained for, under conditions that conspired against her.

There is “nothing short of a crisis in our (Cape Breton) regional emergency department,” Meg Keating wrote earlier this week.

“Sick patients in hallway beds; staff forced to repurpose random spaces, like washrooms, to perform assessments; 26 admitted patients waiting for beds; only enough cardiac monitors for the sickest.”

Her colleague, Margaret Fraser, saw a separate call for help from the department the same day, so she went in for a few hours. She was back at six the next morning. The chaotic conditions persisted throughout that day and into the next.

Patients were jammed everywhere, ambulances stacked up outside waiting to unload, and the relentless stream of walk-ins continued. Staff stress levels kept climbing.

“When you know you are not providing the best possible care because it is simply physically impossible, that creates stress. All that additional stress creates burnout and moral injury,” says Fraser, president of the Cape Breton Medical Staff........

© The Journal Pioneer