A man from New Brunswick who moved from Ontario recently, claims he was surprised by how difficult receiving emergency treatment can be. This was after he was informed that he would have to wait up to 18 hours to be attended to at a hospital ER.
At present, Greg Simpson wants to caution others of the possible wait for primary care in New Brunswick. He hopes officials manage the issue before prospective newcomers get dissuaded from making the move.
“We’ve never really had any major medical issues, so we’ve never experienced a lot of problems obtaining medical services. So this has been quite a shock.”
Simpson, who is 65, and his 66-year old wife, Darlene, moved from Cambridge, Ont. to Keswick Ridge, northwest of Fredericton the previous November seeking affordable housing and a slower pace of life.
Simpson was working on the roof of his garden shed last Wednesday, when the ladder slipped from under his feet, making him slam his chest on it as he landed.
“It was extreme pain — muscle spasms, difficulty breathing, everything that sort of goes with having either bruised or cracked or broken ribs,” stated Simpson, who is presently on the waiting list to see a family doctor.
“I still don’t know what the actual issue is.”
He tried caring for the injury himself by using compression wraps and ibuprofen; however, the pain increased, and by 3 a.m. on Thursday, he proceeded to the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital in search of treatment.
That initial visit lasted three-and-a-half hours, with Simpson concluding to return at a better time.
He went back on Sunday, waited an estimated eight hours, and forfeited once more after a nurse informed him and other patients that they would be waiting an additional 10 hours before being seen.
“She just happened to walk out in a rush and just made an off-the-cuff remark saying ‘You people should go home because it’s going to be another 10 hours’.
“I just thought, you know, I’m going home, so I think I waited around for another hour or so just in case the triage nurse actually fulfilled her words — saying that I might get in early due to my injuries — but that didn’t happen, so I just went home.”
Horizon Health Network, which oversees the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital, did not answer queries before the deadline.
Simpson’s experience emerges as hospitals in New Brunswick cautioned sick individuals to avoid their ER unless the case was urgent due to higher than usual patient volumes. Meanwhile, others have been forced to close their ER operations at specific times because of staffing limitations.
The province has claimed it is planning to fill gaps in acquiring primary health-care by filling vacant nurse practitioner posts, amidst cries over the wait time to access a nurse practitioner or a family doctor.
Simpson said that despite the experience, he has no regrets about moving to New Brunswick, but he has concerns that the difficulty in getting medical care could restrain the province from attracting more people.
“And it’s just shameful too that this is the provincial capital.”
“This is their main hospital, and this is the best that they have to offer. It’s kind of shameful for the people of this province and certainly this city and area.”
Simpson added he turned to eVisit NB, a platform that allows patients to secure virtual appointments with New Brunswick-based physicians, mental health therapists, and nurse practitioners for a fee.
He has hopes that a nurse practitioner can issue him a referral to get an X-ray done to find out if any of his ribs are broken.