Sylvan Lake resident Daniel Desjardins waited for six and a half hours for his wife to be seen by a doctor in the emergency department at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre. “I want pain taken away from me, that’s what I want,” said his wife. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff

Patient cries in pain: Senior couple waits 6.5 hours at Red Deer hospital

A Sylvan Lake couple waited at Red Deer hospital for six and a half hours.

Daniel Desjardins brought his wife into the emergency department at noon Tuesday, and at 6:30 p.m., the couple was finally able to see a doctor.

“I want pain taken away from me, that’s what I want,” said his wife, who did not wish to be named, as she broke into tears while waiting to be seen at around 5:30 p.m.

“I don’t know what to do with myself.”

Alberta Health Services says there is currently increased demand in the hospital’s emergency department. It remains at overcapacity protocol level 2, out of 3, which was the case Tuesday.

A number of factors have contributed to the high demand this week, says AHS; specifically, motor vehicle collisions, slips and falls and people experiencing flu-like symptoms.

Many of the patients coming in are seriously ill, which has resulted in longer than anticipated wait times.

“Fluctuations are experienced when there are high patient volumes or increased trauma cases with critically ill or injured patients,” an AHS spokesperson said, adding critically ill or injured patients will always be seen immediately, and non-urgent patients are typically seen within a couple of hours.

Desjardins, 71, said his wife has many medical conditions.

“We expected a wait. There’s always a wait and that’s expected, but the condition my wife is in: she’s incoherent, she is in pain, she is 70, has cancer, a heart problem, diabetes, arthritis and is struggling today,” he said as the couple waited.

About two months ago, his wife had breast cancer surgery. Post operation, she developed sepsis and stayed in the hospital for about a month. After she was discharged, her condition got worse by the day, and the couple required a doctor Tuesday.

“Today, we needed a doctor’s attention, and we will get one, but when? That’s the question,” he said while waiting.

The couple had seen other patients walk into the emergency department and be seen by a doctor before them, but Desjardins could not confirm if their condition was more serious.

“I see people are walking well. They don’t seem to be in pain, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t. We are willing to wait, except that this has gone too far. There has to be some compassion.”

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