In the Maw of the Medical System – A night in the Emergency Ward in Cornwall Ontario – August 12, 2010

Cornwall ON – You really get to see how dysfunctional the medical system is when you’re in its maw.  It’s one thing to “investigate” a story or interview people, and another when it’s you or a loved one in the emergency ward as I had the privilege to do Monday night.

A loved one had a tumble on a ATV, and I left city council early to get to the hospital.   Sure enough she’d had an X-ray by the time I got there, but then waited nearly six hours lying in a bed while other patients lied in their beds and the ward filled up to the point where some were in the hallways.  Why? Why were these people waiting and the room filling up?  Because there was only one doctor on duty Monday night according to staff and my own observations.

Now Cornwall is really lucky.   We have a terrific hospital.   The nurses are great and the Doctors rarely not great.  It’s clean and essentially well run.   The problem?  The system not funding it properly.

So patients that were critically rushed in had to be dealt with first, and then everyone else waited and the hospital filled up.   That’s dangerous until itself.     My loved one had two stalls near her with contagious warnings on them.    The noise and stress on the nursing staff seemed pretty much unjust, but the true injustice was of course to the patients.

A second doctor visited and said the Xrays were ok, but was bewildered why the first doctor hadn’t done other tests to check for internal injury?   So more tests had to be done and by the time all was said and done the visit turned into nearly 24 hours.   Of course until the tests were confirmed medication had to be withheld so my loved one stayed in pain all this time.

Lost time; lost productivity for patients and their loved ones.   Extra costs for the system that is suffering from extra costs.

One doctor’s neglect; probably from rushing, caused a long delay.   That ward that night probably needed 2 or 3 more doctors.

But watching it all go down I couldn’t help but think about how many people suffer or even worse die at the hands of this system, and how hard it is for those that work in it.

Kudos to the staff of our hospital, and what will it take for people to realize the number one issue facing all of us is medical services and that we have to make the system and those at the top of it accountable?

What do you think Cornwall and Canada? You can post your comments below.


  1. Money is not the only answer, Look to the US, they earn more money but the service still sux unless you have money. Here we have the money but the system doesn’t work. Odd??

    Medicare and service industry is only best served by the people running the show having the capability to do their job. The people working in the business are a big issue as well, as you know I travel frequently and though many people in Cornwall are great they still have a lousy attitude towards doing their job.

    Friends of ours are leaving the area both are in n the medical profession for that reason alone. They are returning to the US. Money is comparable but the atmosphere and work ethic is much better.

  2. Over a Billion dollars spent on e-health. Thats like spending $100,000.00 for tires on your $500. car, then wondering why you have no money for gas. (And the tires would have to be bald.) No heads rolled over e-health, but come election, time many politician will be put on vacation. Like the federal PC party in Malroney’s days, the Liberals will not make it to official opposition. They lied to me, they taxed me to death with HST, and they put the lives of my friends and loved ones at risk with e-health boondoggle. I voted for Jim last time, so I’m part of the problem. Next time around I’m going to work hard to make up for my sin of the past. So far I’m not sure who I’ll vote for, but make no mistake about it, I know who I’m voting and working against!

  3. There is no reason not to have 2 doctors on hand at all times, how many doctor’s do we have in Cornwall? What the should be doing is forcing doctor’s to do community services if they wish to practice here in Cornwall.

    Example: Each doctor should be require to do 1-2 days of month of services in the emergency room, whether it be to check for colds, soar throats or what ever. There should even be residence student to help out also.

  4. With all the vacant space at the Hotel Dieu why are doctors not manditorily doing their private practice at the site.
    One doc could be on call in the morning and one in the afternoon then do private practice after that. Each in turn for the on calls. Maybe more is not the answer but better structure to the existing system.

    The current system is part of why so much money is spent. Rent for private practices in other buildings. I wonder how much that takes out of our health care system?

  5. I hear these stories at least once a week. People just shrug there shoulders and say there is nothing I can do about. Since this has happened to someone in the media, maybe we will see more stories printed about this matter.

  6. What do you think about that Jamie? WOuld it be beter to have the private practices run from the hospital?

  7. The problems in the health care system are created by government so they can tell us that we need private health care to serve us better. Insurance companies have lots of money to buy politicians.

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