Healthcare News & Insights

Outrageous! Visitor hurt, nurse says: ‘Call 911’

You’d think if you were hurt in the hospital you’d at least get help quickly. But if you’re at Greater Niagara General Hospital, don’t count on it. Doreen Wallace, 82, was visiting her dying husband at the Niagara Falls, Ontario hospital. Wallace, who already had a broken arm from an earlier accident, fell in the hallway and broke her hip. Her son, Mike, who was with her, immediately asked nearby staff — two nurses and a security guard — for help.

He was told to call 911 for an ambulance — to come to the hospital.

Wallace’s son said the pair was roughly 150 feet from the hospital’s own emergency department at the time. So Wallace stayed on the metal grate where she had fallen, while the guard gave her a blanket to rest her head on and some paper towels to clean up the blood from her cuts.

And there she waited. For another 30 minutes.

Eventually, an orthopedic surgeon saw what had happened and got another staffer to help move Wallace into a wheelchair. Soon after, an ambulance from another local hospital arrived to treat her.

A spokesperson for Greater Niagara said the incident stemmed from a communication problem. Employees have since been trained on how to handle similar situations and the hospital is reviewing the incident.

Wallace said all she really wants is an apology, which still hasn’t been offered.

Notably, this isn’t the first time Greater Niagara employees have had some confusion over how to handle sudden emergencies.

Last April, a 39-year-old woman died shortly after being turned away from Greater Niagara’s ER. Her boyfriend had driven her there after she fell unconscious and stopped breathing. He was also told to call 911.

A few months later a local politician with a history of health problems was semi-conscious when she was brought to the ER by her husband. They were also told to call for an ambulance.

The incidents apparently stemmed from an erroneous belief by some employees that insurance wouldn’t cover any treatment unless it was provided in the actual hospital building and not the ER.

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  1. June Collins says:

    Just shows common sense is not that common anymore. We’ve lost the ability to put ourselves in other people’s places and exercise just plain old courtesy. There shouldn’t have to be any “policies’ or review of them for this. People should know you help people in need, regardless of where they are.

  2. Wouldn’t you think outright concern for someone who has fallen would have come into play???? I understand the liability issue but to let this woman lay there for 30 minutes….thank GOD the security guard tried to make her comfortable. What a “black eye” for the hospital and their staff!!!!!!

  3. Yes….by all means…..let’s emulate the Canadian system!

  4. My daughter, after working for 14 years in an US hospital, now lives and works in Canada. She is distressed every day at the treatment, wait time, poor equipment and, less than sanitary, conditions in the hospital she is now employed in. She has stated that if the (large) hospital in which she works was in the US, it would be closed down and every time she hears the phrase “free healthcare in Canada” she wants to scream because it is far from free. Everyone pays their share in taxes and prices for all goods are beyond outrageous. We may not be perfect but we have it good people, wake up!