P.E.I. patients in Moncton hospital safe as facility goes into lockdown

Health P.E.I. stops transfers of patients to Moncton, Island ambulances not being sent to mainland hospital

Wayne Thibodeau wthibodeau@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on June 5, 2014

Police officers take cover behind their vehicles in Moncton, N.B. on Wednesday June 3, 2014. The RCMP says three of its officers were killed in Moncton, N.B., by a man armed with guns and two other officers were injured as the Mounties conducted a manhunt across the city's north end on Wednesday night for the shooter.

©THE CANADIAN PRESS/Moncton Times & Transcript-Ron Ward

The lockdown of Moncton’s largest hospital as a result of a manhunt for a 24-year-old who allegedly shot five police officers, killing three of them, sent reverberations throughout Prince Edward Island’s health care system.

Police spent the day Thursday combing through the north end of Moncton for Justin Bourque, who was wearing military camouflage and carrying two rifles in a picture of him released by police on Twitter Wednesday night.

Residents in the area were asked to lock their doors and windows and stay inside.

Moncton hospital’s lockdown also meant Health P.E.I. could not transfer any patients to Moncton and Island EMS put all transfers to the southeastern New Brunswick city on hold.

On average, P.E.I. hospitals transfer about one patient every 24-hours to Moncton.

Pam Trainor, executive director of acute, mental health and addictions for Health P.E.I., says no emergency transfers were required as of late Thursday.

However, Trainor said there was a plan in place to transfer patients to other Maritime centres, like Halifax, should it had been needed.

“We are always concerned when there is a change in the resources that we have available to us,” said Trainor, adding mainland hospitals like Moncton are an integral part of the Island’s health care system.

“This was not a significant impact. We knew it would be for a short-period of time and we knew the patients that were coming back (to the Island) were stable patients.”

Outpatient appointments and surgeries were canceled as a result of the lockdown at the Moncton hospital on Wednesday evening and Thursday. It is not known how many P.E.I. patients may have been affected.

There were two Island patients at Moncton hospital during the shooting. Both patients were safe and never in harms way.

Both had also been deemed medically stable to be transferred back to P.E.I.

That transfer, however, was delayed because Island EMS was not sending any ambulances to the Moncton hospital. That situation changed late Thursday when Island ambulances resumed their transfers to Moncton.

Trainor said Health P.E.I. officials will continue to monitor the situation in Moncton to determine what may happen if the situation is not resolved by Friday.

“We’ll be looking at it by a case-by-case basis and we will be communicating with Moncton to determine whether we can transfer individual patients to Moncton hospital or whether there is a need to go to another site.”