Toronto SickKids ICU over 100% capacity as protesters demand action from Ford government
Posted: December 10, 2022
(December 12, 2022)
By: News Staff, City News Everywhere
Demonstrations took place in three cities Monday afternoon as the Ontario Health Coalition spoke out against what it calls inaction by the Ford government.
One of the rallies was held outside the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre on University Avenue in Toronto, with others taking place in Waterloo and Windsor.
“The hospitals are beyond crisis at this point, it really is a catastrophe,” said Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition.
“We’ve got emergency departments closing temporarily across the province as they don’t have enough staff, maternity units closing because they don’t have enough staff … overwhelmed pediatric hospitals, staff leaving by the thousands.”
A demonstration being held outside the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre on University Avenue in Toronto on Dec. 12, 2022. CITYNEWS/Ryan Vallee
This comes as the ICU at Toronto’s SickKids is at 120 per cent capacity and has been under immense pressure for weeks.
Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children says cancelling surgeries that allowed staff to redeploy to its jammed intensive care unit has saved lives.
The head of the ICU, Dr. Steven Schwartz, says the difficult move to cancel surgeries recently has paid off as the hospital deals with a surge of young patients with respiratory illnesses. He says it allowed the hospital to implement a team-based care model that shifts away from its one-nurse-to-one-patient model.
Pediatric hospitals across Ontario are in similar situations as they’ve seen a huge surge in children with respiratory illnesses. A severe staffing crunch, especially in highly specialized units such as intensive care, has compounded the problem.
The Ontario Health Coalition says it has never seen public healthcare in such an extreme crisis, pointing to the temporary closures of emergency departments, along with sick and disabled children being turned away from overwhelmed pediatric emergency departments.
“Almost 100 emergency departments have been temporarily closed in recent months, along with ICUs, maternity services and others. These closures are continuous,” the coalition said.
“Sick and disabled children are being turned away from overwhelmed pediatric emergency departments. More than 1,000 occurrences of Code Zero, in which all ambulances are taken, and there are none left in a region, have happened in the last year in Ontario.”
Ontario’s Health Coalition says patients’ surgeries and diagnostic tests continue to get cancelled and delayed, and a large number of nurses, health professionals and other staff have left.
“How dare the Ford government to downplay and deny the crisis or play political games with it and blame everyone but themselves,” said Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition.
“These are people’s lives, their health — children’s lives and health, the elderly’s lives and health. This is not the time for games, denial or lies. Enough. We demand action to address this crisis, and we demand the Ford government stop using the crisis as cover to privatize our public hospitals.”
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