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Charlottetown woman who waited 13 hours in emergency room says something needs to change

Jeannie Robertson in her home at Renaissance Place apartments on April 1.
Jeannie Robertson in her home at Renaissance Place apartments on April 1. - Michael Robar
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

For Jeannie Robertson, Saturday, March 23, started out bad. And it didn’t get better.

She woke with a severe pain in her abdomen and right side and went to a walk-in clinic in Charlottetown.

After two hours she saw a doctor, who gave her a letter for the triage nurse at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown, saying the cause was likely an aneurysm or kidney stones.

She arrived at the QEH around 2:30 p.m. and was told the wait would be about four hours. Robertson called her daughter, who joined her.

Over the next 13 hours, she got up from the plastic chair to use the bathroom and, every three or four hours, to check with the nurse.

To help ignore the pain, she observed what was going on around her.

A sick woman with her partner and baby.

A little boy crying with an earache with his mother and grandmother.

A teenage boy with a hand injury and his mother.

Each left, after hours of waiting, without being seen a doctor, Robertson said.

“We are not living in a Third-World country, and this level of wait time is totally unacceptable.”

There was also a man brought in by ambulance. Staples had let go after his knee surgery.

He was wheeled next to the green couch in front of the triage nurses’ station and left in a wheelchair next to the green couch in front of the triage nurses’ station. His wife perched on the edge of the couch.

At 3:30 a.m., Sunday, the 75-year-old Robertson met Dr. Nicole Green in the cast room. No other rooms were available.

“We as taxpayers, babies, senior citizens and human beings deserve much better.”

- Jeannie Robertson

Green apologized for the “unacceptable wait” and ordered an X-ray and ultrasound.

She told Robertson to go home, get some sleep, then come back for a CT scan, but Robertson was exhausted.

She hadn’t eaten or had much to drink from the pain, not to mention the waiting room water cooler had run out around midnight, said Robertson.

“We as taxpayers, babies, senior citizens and human beings deserve much better.”

Robertson had the CT scan on March 27, and Green ordered another ultrasound, which is scheduled for June 5.

Robertson has some ideas about what might be done to help – like providing more walk-in clinics or expanding their hours and getting more late-evening volunteers at the hospital—and some words for those running in the current election.

“To Premier Wade MacLauchlan, leaders of all the parties, MLAs all now running in an upcoming election, you must speak up for your emergency department at the QEH and help this situation.”

Health P.E.I. was contacted but did not release a comment.

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