Lee-Anne Quinn: PRHC’s emergency system broke at 10 years old

Given my professional status as a seasoned nurse practitioner and my continued commitment to my community, I feel compelled to voice my concern.

Peterborough being my hometown, I have practiced as a nurse practitioner for over 35 years. I served in the former Yugoslavia, Somalia, Rwanda, Afghanistan and in several isolated postings in northern Ontario and the Yukon.

I join with members of our Peterborough community in wishing for and advocating for best care practices at our Peterborough Regional Health Center (PRHC). I hope that most of your readers can share vignettes of how they or their family members or friends have had positive experiences of care received in the emergency room (ER) at this facility.

On July 13, a Tuesday evening, I was a nurse practitioner at a summer camp in the region. I accompanied a 10 year old camper to the PRHC who had a temperature of 38.9 C and whose painful and very swollen red knee showed all the signs of cellulitis / septic knee which was doing very badly.

I telephoned the CHRP emergency room doctor ahead of time and informed him of the potential severity of this case and that I would arrive with this child within 20 minutes. Unfortunately, upon my arrival at 9:00 p.m., I am of the opinion, as a prudent and seasoned nurse practitioner, that my clinical judgment was not taken into account and that the urgency of this case was dismissed.

The emergency triage nurse said “it would be a 6 to 8 hour wait.” I insisted that I had spoken to the emergency doctor in charge and that he was awaiting the arrival of this patient. In my opinion, the doctor also did not appear to address the seriousness of this case and did not examine this child for a preliminary assessment and diagnosis.

In my opinion, if the doctor had taken the time to affect such a preliminary view, it would have been obvious that there was the potential for a severe septic knee that deregulated.

What I thought was exacerbating the lack of care for this 10 year old was an inordinate number of unruly people in the ER with what I thought were drug-related health issues. It appeared that the five security guards and two police officers were trying to keep these people under control.

I can understand that a cacophony of loud, scatological language could have been somewhat distracting for the doctor and attending nurses, but the chaotic state of emergency does not justify the lack of care directed to the clinically ill boy.

In my opinion, in an emergency room, people providing health care need to overcome the din and the number of patients and triage as they are professionally required to do. To my knowledge, this has not happened. The 10-year-old boy was not examined by the doctor until 3:45 a.m., six hours and 45 minutes after his arrival.

His condition deteriorated to the point that he had to be airlifted to the Ottawa Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) where he remained in the intensive care unit for several days. pediatric.

In my opinion, the PRHC system failed our camper and his family.

Members of our community must always remain vigilant so that such apparent inertia does not become systemic at the CHRP.

Lee-Anne Quinn OMM, CD, PHCNP (Master Prepared), Major (Ret.) Canadian Armed Forces, is a resident of Peterborough.

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Linda Stewart

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