Over the Christmas season, I visited the Sault Area Hospital Emergency Room because my doctor lost his license to practice medicine. What an amazing Christmas gift!
Dr. Touchy lost his license because he couldn’t keep his hands to himself. It wasn’t such a big deal because I recently moved to the Soo. I needed to find a new doctor in the Soo and had 6 months’ worth of prescriptions. On Sunday before Christmas, I found out that when your doctor loses his license. They cancel all your prescriptions.
Fantastic! Nothing says Christmas fun like going to a walk-in clinic!
It’s Sunday December 22nd. I run out of my drugs in five days. What to do?
I searched for walk-in clinics to find out that the only open clinic was the Fast-Track Clinic at Sault Area Hospital. The hospital should seriously reconsider the name of the clinic. It wasn’t fast. Dead sloths are faster.
In my life, I’ve been in private and public hospitals in three different countries. Sault Area Hospital wins the prize for the most incompetence. Nothing makes sense!
The Sault Area Hospital is set up to frustrate patients into leaving. They don’t care about helping people. Many people with swollen hands and arms from falling never offered a bag of ice. By the time one person received their bag of ice. It was a bag of lukewarm water! It felt like a third world hospital, not Canada!
The incompetence starts at the front door. I took the bus to the hospital and entered the front door. I asked a friendly volunteer for the Fast-Track Clinic location. Her response? It’s way far away at the other end of the building and she suggested I drive my car over. I informed her I took the bus. She directed me to a long hallway to follow to the ER.
Wow, you could run a 800m race in that hallway. Who designs a hospital with the ER located a good 3-5 minute walk from the front door? What if I had twisted my ankle? I’d still be hobbling to the ER.
Success! I arrived in the ER. Just kidding, the incompetence had only begun!
I started in the first of 3 ER “parking lots.” The Sault Area Hospital specializes in moving you from waiting room to waiting room to frustrate you into leaving. Also known as wasting money on administration instead of paying doctors and nurses.
I asked how to get registered and someone told me to take a number. Am I at the butcher shop?
The journey of incompetence continues with two triage nurses. I took a number and waited for my turn. The first parking lot took about 45 minutes before calling my number.
During that time, a guy who came by ambulance got up and left with a paramedic standing next to him.
Of everyone I dealt with, my triage nurse was the nicest. She had recently lost her doctor. So we bonded over that. From my experience, the triage nurse seemed to be the only one who cared about her job.
After triage, I moved to the administration parking lot, which was the quickest. Why? Because three administrators waiting to do nothing more than confirm the information I gave the triage nurse.
Why three? There are two triage nurses and they split people between the Fast-Track clinic and the regular ER. So not everyone even goes to those three administrators!
Finally, I made it to the Fast-Track clinic parking lot. Sorry, I mean the waiting room. I dropped my form into a tray for the non-existent nurse to put into the queue to see the doctor. I took my seat and started the waiting game.
A guy sitting across from me had a big swollen hand. We started to talk and I found out that no one had offered him ice for his hand. I went up to the counter to see if I could get him ice. There was a nurse sitting there with her back to me checking Facebook. I asked for some ice and she said, “I’m busy and will be with you in a few minutes.”
SHE WAS ON FACEBOOK!
As an investigative journalist does, I started talking to people and asking questions. What better way to learn about something than asking locals. I found out some astonishing things.
First, no one in the room had seen the door open to go into the area to see the doctors. Some had been there since 9:20am and it was past noon. It would be another hour before the door opened for the first time.
How is it possible that no one saw the doctor in over four hours!
Second, every time I went to ask for a bag of ice. The nurse was on Facebook!
Finally, the nurse called my name. But, not before five other names of people who had given up and left! It was the same every time the nurse came out. She would call three-to-seven names before someone was still there!
The Sault Area Hospital is the worst ER I’ve even been to! They have no hospital to compete against. They are the only major hospital for hundreds of kilometres. There is no incentive to offer quality care.
Does the hospital still get paid if you leave? Could the hospital be trying to make you leave on purpose?
After experiencing Sault Area Hospital, these are valid questions I will investigate!