MPPs speak out about hospital death in Hearst

Patient dies after delays occur in moving a person from Hearst to another hospital 400 kilometres away

NDP Health Critic France Gélinas has spoken out about the need for better procedures and more action on health-care shortages following the death of a hospital patient in Hearst.

No details were revealed about the patient other than the incident involved a person at Hearst’s Notre-Dame Hospital who was to be transferred to another hospital roughly 400 kilometres away.

A news release from Gélinas said the death was tragic and heartbreaking.

“The incident at Notre-Dame Hospital involved critical delays in transferring an ill patient to a higher-level care facility 400 kilometres away,” said the release. “Insufficient resources and protocols, including a shortage of ORNGE crew and pilots, hindered the ability of physicians and health-care providers to administer the necessary care.”

Gélinas expressed deep disappointment over the state of health care in Northern Ontario. 

“The Liberal government stood idly by while ORNGE was being decimated, and the Conservative government has shown little interest in rebuilding a safe air transportation system for the sickest residents of Northern Ontario. Doug Ford does not prioritize equitable access to healthcare for the people in this region,” Gélinas said in the news release.

Gélinas, who represents Nickel Belt, was joined by Mushkegowuk—James Bay MPP Guy Bourgouin in calling on the Ontario Conservative government to take immediate action. They urged the province to prioritize the growing healthcare needs in Northern Ontario, including adequate emergency air transportation. 

“This tragic incident shows the continued impact of the Conservatives’ unconstitutional wage-restraint legislation Bill 124, ” said Bourgouin. 

“We need to address the consequences of this legislation. This government needs to work with experienced health-care workers to develop solutions to save lives. 

Bourgouin said ORNGE and the dedicated health-care providers at Notre-Dame Hospital faced an uphill battle, trying to provide optimal care without adequate support. He said the situation highlights the need for increased staffing and resources in remote communities in the North to avoid these devastating outcomes in the future. 

Gélinas said the Hearst hospital incident should be setting off alarm bells for the government,” she said.

“This traumatic event and similar incidents should serve as wake-up calls to recruit, retain and return more healthcare professionals to our region. My NDP colleagues and I extend our deepest sympathies to the patient’s loved ones and the entire team at Notre-Dame Hospital for all the efforts.” 


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