Health-care workers protest cutbacks at Lachine Hospital

Health-care workers protest cutbacks at Lachine Hospital

Medical professionals and patients are protesting the MUHC’s decision to cut back on services at Lachine Hospital, with many saying they’re worried it’s putting lives at risk.

As of Tuesday night, the Lachine Hospital in Montreal will no longer accept ambulances, instead redirecting them to other facilities. Walk-in patients will have access to an ER doctor until 10 pm, and only for the next two weeks – as of March 1, the hospital with have no more emergency room doctors.

Josee Theoret has been an emergency room nurse at the Lachine Hospital for almost 40 years. Fighting back tears, she said she’s thinking of the lives her team working overnight has saved.

“A baby of nine months that was (having) a heart problem… old people who were practically dying on the stretchers that we stabilized them,” she said.

The hospital should be here to serve the local population, said Dr. Paul Sabba.

“The administration is making a bad decision that’s going to cost lives.”

He added that closing this ER will only lead to more overcrowding at other Montreal hospitals.

“We need hospitals that are close to the community. Is this a question of, ‘Is this to take our resources and transfer them downtown? Let them fix their own problems,'” he said.

The MUHC claims the closure is due to a chronic lack of doctors and respiratory therapists. It said it’s working with the Urgentes-Sante emergency medical service to ensure those in need get to another hospital as quickly as possible.

“It’s a big change for the community and a big change for the patients, and we want to reassure them that we’re putting all of what’s necessary so that all of those transfers occur rapidly and safely,” said Claudine Lamarre, MUHC director of professional services.

Those words don’t reassure Lachine resident Valerie Lewis, who was treated at the hospital for a blood infection years ago.

“It’s close to my house. I came here to the emergency at midnight, and Dr. Beaudry actually admitted me,” she said. “So if it was closed then, I would have stayed at home to die, basically.”

The MUHC said it is listening to the community and may consider this decision, but likely not anytime soon.

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