The Sainte-Justine children's hospital had to ask again, on Wednesday, parents of sick children to avoid its emergencies, except for very serious cases, due to exceptional traffic that has persisted since the end of March.
According to Dr. Antonio D'Angelo, medical chief of the emergency pediatrics department at Sainte-Justine, the emergency room has seen an average of 298 patients a day since March 31, with peaks that can reach 330 to 340 patients a day.
However, "at least a third" of children brought for consultation at Sainte-Justine hospital should ideally be seen in outpatient clinics or by their family doctor, their symptoms not justifying a visit to the hospital, judge t -he.
"If we had 100 fewer patients a day, we could function normally," explained Dr. D'Angelo in an interview with the QMI Agency, regretting that "all this clientele of less sick people does not allow us to see our patients sicker".
Due to the traffic, children find themselves waiting for long hours, sometimes half a day, causing even more pressure on the staff in place who must multiply the evaluations, underlined the person in charge of the emergency.
However, the doctor does not blame the parents who turn to his hospital. “About 40% of our patients do not have access to the first line, either because they do not have a family doctor or because there are no appointments available. […] They face a situation where they have no choice but to come to consult,” said Dr. D’Angelo.
In addition, while COVID-19 is less ubiquitous these days, other viruses such as influenza and gastroenteritis – yet typical of winter in the past – are on the rise and are helping to fill the hospital.
The arrival of good weather also increases the number of cases of trauma, the children having resumed outdoor activities, which leads to a lot of injuries to be treated afterwards, underlined the doctor.