Van slams into QEH's front doors, coming to rest in hospital lobby

Wayne Thibodeau
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Sheets of plywood are covering the main entrance of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital this morning after somebody rammed the hospital doors with their vehicle.

The incident happened late Monday night

A Dodge Caravan, driven by a 63-year-old Johnstons River man, slammed into the front doors of the hospital so hard that the vehicle smashed through three sets of doors. The front of the Dodge Caravan stopped just as it entered the hospital's main lobby.

Surprisingly, nobody was injured.

Charlottetown Police Cpl. Dean Field says the 63-year-old driver was arrested at the scene and is facing charges. He said it's too early to say what charges. Police plan to release more information later this morning.

Field said the hospital was extensively damaged. He said it's amazing nobody was injured.

The driver was able to maneuver his vehicle around or through three huge cement pillars, painted bright yellow, which are placed in front of the main entrance to prevent this type of thing from happening.

Field said police have more witnesses to interview in the morning.

In the waking hours this morning, the mess had all been cleaned up. All that remained of the accident was a few skid markets on the sidewalk in front of the hospital and the plywood covering the main doors.

"The front entrance is structurally sound and safe for staff, patients and visitors to travel through," Amanda Hamel, a spokeswoman for the hospital

The newly redesigned front entrance and lobby is only a month old. It was officially opened Dec. 21. It is part of a multi-million dollar expansion of ambulatory care at Prince Edward Island's largest referral hospital.

The whole section of the hospital remains under construction.

It won't be completed until this spring.

Amanda Hamel, a spokeswoman for the hospital, said the side door is still functional and will be used as the main entrance point until repairs can be made.

"The front entrance is structurally sound and safe for staff, patients and visitors to travel through," Hamel said in an email early this morning.

"They just have to exercise patience in sharing the single door until the outer double doors are replaced."

More on this story throughout the day at



Organizations: Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Geographic location: Johnstons River, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

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Recent comments

  • memyselfandi
    February 07, 2012 - 17:13

    When I was 16 my aunt was dying in palliative care, all I wanted was to see her on my lunch break. The security stopped me and told me it wasn't visiting hours. I told him that I was visiting someone in palliative care, he said it didn't matter. I never got to see her before she passed away. I still blame the awful, inconsiderate, un-compassionate, and prejudice (because of my age) security. I would have drove through those doors and thinking back on it just makes me want to again. Not saying that it is right by any means but why on earth the security is allowed to be so horrific is disgusting. just disgusting. thats all.

    • Townie
      February 08, 2012 - 08:57

      They didn't not let you in because you were 16. It wasn't about you at all. It was about all the other patients in the hospital who were resting. They have visiting hours for a resaon. I apologize and sympathize your aunts death, but you can't stomp all over the needs of others. The security was just doing their job, no offense was meant to you.

    • chubabub
      February 08, 2012 - 18:46

      Just take away the stupid mans license and put him in jail for awhile . Someone could have been killed .

  • Rudeness Alotof
    February 07, 2012 - 12:59

    I have to wonder if this man was faced with the rude security that works in that place... I know I have!! I've been in the place enough times to have asked questions only to hear an ignorant reply or something profoundly stupid. I've also watched as they chew people out for things that could have been better dealt with in a polite manner. I'm not suggesting that was the case here but I won't be the least bit suprised. If it was, send em all to Summerside where the whole place is a lot more friendly!!

  • Danielle
    February 07, 2012 - 11:32

    The details as to why this man ran into the doors is unclear at this point. Lets wait a few days till he has been taken into court. The court will determine an appropriate level of punishment. No one was hurt > other then a few glass windows, which insurance will cover. Relax PEI!

  • Sylvia
    February 07, 2012 - 11:25

    If anyone has a reason to do what this man did, it would be me. My husband almost died at QEH in 2010 because of a surgeon's carelessness. Even so, as angry as I still am at this surgeon because of his stupidity and lack of acknowledgement for what he did, I could never do something like this. There's no excuse for this type of behaviour.

  • intobed
    February 07, 2012 - 11:16

    Maybe this gentleman thought the "three huge cement pillars, painted bright yellow" were just traffic calming devices, and when he drove around them he suddenly encountered the doors.

  • local wag
    February 07, 2012 - 10:50

    I blame APM.

  • Blows me away
    February 07, 2012 - 10:22

    Funny how the hospital and staff can be blamed for this man's actions! Seriously people. If he chose to do this at a school would you blame the teachers he had as a child?

  • An inside perspective
    February 07, 2012 - 10:13

    I don't understand why everyone is taking his side. Just because he didn't like something that the hospital did doesn't give him a right to drive his van through the door. Had he had a fight with his neighbor and drove his vehicle through their front door, there would be a totally different response. I agree that the reputation of our hospital isn't the greatest but now, because he damaged their property and ruined months of work, they will have to spend more money on repairs and less on the actual health aspect of the hospital. Way to go, sir.

  • Sylvia
    February 07, 2012 - 10:05

    As frustrated as I am with Health PEI and health care in P.E.I., I could never do something like that. He could have killed someone. My husband & I were at QEH last week and I find this incident very disturbing.

  • For the Best
    February 07, 2012 - 10:03

    That hospital is a joke! Good on ya, Joe Gallant!

  • lilley
    February 07, 2012 - 10:00

    The Canada Health Act and the logical results is so loved and popular that ordinary tax payers are "breaking down doors" just to get in!! Howeve, in this case, If the driver needed medical treatment of some kind, he came to the wrong place, should have gone to a Vet Clinic instead!!

  • Regardless
    February 07, 2012 - 09:53

    Regardless of the motives of this man...a deliberate act of destruction and disregard for any injury his act might have totally inexcusable. To blame government departments ...or the size of the hospital doors.... or the level of service in the hospital is a copout for this type of behaviour. If this man does have a is quite the example he has set for them.

  • Lion's Paw
    February 07, 2012 - 09:32

    Tipical islanders jumping to conclushions without all the facts. Until all the evadence comes in, I wouldent rule out fawlty window desine.

    • PICKY
      February 07, 2012 - 13:11

      Great creative writing there. Your spellings make me chuckle, so thank you for that.

  • Bruce MacEwen
    February 07, 2012 - 09:21

    I live 45 min east of Ch'town and I'll still often drive to Summerside for treatment.They're far and away ahead of the QEH ,and I understand their subsequent infection rates are also lower,something that kills alot of patients.

    February 07, 2012 - 08:40

    Maybe he was showing his disgust and outrage at the Dept of Health for spending millions on the new hospital entrance that was not needed or required. The Dept of Health should have spent the millions on caring for Islanders Health needs and not on the airport runway at the QEH.

    • Really
      February 07, 2012 - 11:53

      So because he's not happy with something that was done, he has the right to endager people's lives and cause thousands of dollars in damage? I'm not happy with my landlords right now...Doesn't mean I'm going to drive my car through their front door.

    • nitpicker
      February 07, 2012 - 19:33

      A new ambulatory care centre is not helpful to Island Health needs? The renovations were not for a new entrance, it was for a new wing of the hospital.

  • SG
    February 07, 2012 - 08:12

    (The driver was able to maneuver his vehicle around or through three huge cement pillars, painted bright yellow, which are placed in front of the main entrance to prevent this type of thing from happening.) He was able to maneuver his vehicle through three huge bright yellow pillars but he didn't see Three Huge Glass Entrance Doors!? "His" dollars not "Our Tax Dollars" should pay for the damages. Also his driving license should be recinded indefinetely. It's a miracle nobody was injured. Our Gentle Island?

    • I Think
      February 07, 2012 - 10:29

      That's what Public Liability on Insurance is for! I'm sure he'll be paying for it.

  • Just The Facts
    February 07, 2012 - 07:41

    It's obvious that the main entrance will have to be re-designed. The initial placement of the concrete pillars, erected to prevent such a destructive incident, was not done correctly. Otherwise, we would not be in this unfortunate position now. I trust the designer's and/or construction company's insurance policies will cover the damages. Taxpayers have already spent a fortune in dollars and convenience, waiting for this new main entrance to be officially opened.

    • Really
      February 07, 2012 - 11:50

      If this was deliberately done, why should the designer's/construction company's insurance have to pay out? It should be the guy who caused the damage, or at least his insurance company. Why should anyone's premiums go up other than his?

  • A bit much
    February 07, 2012 - 06:41

    I agree that the new doors are way to narrow, but this may be a bit much. I guess I can throw out my strongly worded letter about widening the sliding doors.

  • Grapes
    February 07, 2012 - 06:24

    Seems like the staff are pissing people off down there with there poor service. I reccomend driving to summer side ,the service is faster and better.

    • Untwisted
      February 07, 2012 - 10:59

      Don't blame the little people. It's the big people and lack of budget that creates the poor service. I know if I'm not happy in my work environment and not able to do my job to the full extent of my ability, my performance would not be that great either. 5h1t rolls down hill and right now the staff and patients are at the bottom covered in it. If everyone took your advise and went to Summerside, the problem would be there. Not a solution at all.

    • islander
      February 07, 2012 - 13:01

      and polite. (which I don't think is too much to ask)

  • Probably understandable but Sad
    February 07, 2012 - 06:14

    I know I felt like doing this on several occasions but I never actually would. This poor mans wife or child was probably killed by this hospital. Hopefully he gets the help he needs. Those new doors were stupid anyway. Not very wide. Didn't even look like you could get a double wide wheel chair through. Maybe they'll design better ones this time. Not likely though.

    • Miss PEI
      February 07, 2012 - 19:13

      It is sad but not at all understandable! Endangering the lives of others and destruction of property is not the way to deal with any bad situation one may deal with. I agree with you though in hoping he gets help that he needs. Btw, you say the doors "Didn't even look like you could get a double wide wheel chair through"... are you suggesting that a double-wide wheel chair is wider than this man's van which clearly made it through said doors without too much trouble? I also agree with others: whomever decided to place those yellow concrete posts to prevent this from happening must not have measured any actual vehicles...

  • Itolduso
    February 07, 2012 - 05:57

    I wounder what would drive this person to do something like that... I wounder if it is some kind of statement to health PEI and the Ghiz Government.

    • Smart Alec
      February 07, 2012 - 09:41

      A van...