Montreal ERs paralyzed with overcrowding
It's been a tough holiday period for Montreal-area emergency rooms and clinics.
Influenza, or the flu, has countless patients to clinics and hospitals all across the city, before and throughout the holiday period.
"Christmas day was a day we have never really seen [before]," said Karen Gervais, administrator at the Medistat Pierrefonds Clinic. "We usually will have five patients that stroll through on Christmas day, but this year we had to close after 25 patients because we only had the one doctor working on Christmas day, which is understandable."
Gervais admits they're also seeing a lot of gastro cases.
"You have a situation where people have got together with each other," said CJAD's Medical Expert Dr. Mitch Shulman. "They've visited family, so if someone in those gatherings had the flu, it's easy to understand how the flu can spread even more."
Montreal's health agency is reporting a decrease in the rate of occupation in hospital ERs across the city in the last 24-hours, however most are well above 100%.
Shulman admits that while it may seem that few people are waiting in the front-end waiting room, that doesn't mean there aren't people being treated, or waiting, behind the scenes.
"We are doing what we can," Gervais admitted. "We have people lining outside the door way before we're even opening up."
Sometimes, 30 to 40 patients are waiting before the clinic opens.
At the Jewish General Hospital, one couple, a husband and wife, were turned away from four clinics before coming to the hospital. They say they were left with no choice.
Gervais said that if you must see a doctor, try your local clinic. If you don't have success, go to the hospital but expect long delays.
If you're under the weather and feeling achy, drink water to stay hydrated. Gatorade will replenish lost electrolytes in your body. Make sure to get lots of rest -- and some hot turkey soup left over from the holidays won't hurt either.
Resources: Montreal Health Agency