Patients kept in hospital hallways as flu season ramps up
Ryan Flanagan, CTV Kitchener
Published Friday, January 13, 2017 5:52PM EST
Last Updated Friday, January 13, 2017 6:45PM EST
This year’s flu season is bad enough that doctors are seeing some patients in the corridors of Brantford General Hospital.
“We have patients, unfortunately, being cared for in our hallways,” Dr. Eric Irvine, the hospital’s chief of emergency medicine, said Friday.
“We have patients that have been living in our hallways for the last day or two.”
Additionally, 15 surgeries have been postponed since the start of the year in a move to free up bed space at the hospital for influenza patients.
Hospital officials say that delaying surgeries and seeing patients in hallways is part of the organization’s protocol for dealing with high numbers of patients.
“When you’re dealing with that many, and that volume, it poses challenges around space,” said Lori Petri-Mulrain.
Irvine estimates that the hospital’s emergency room sees about 150 people come through on a typical day. Lately, he says, patient volumes have been about 20 per cent higher.
“This is, unfortunately, a rather rough year,” he said.
Seniors are traditionally among the people most vulnerable to the flu.
They too have been hit worse than normal this year.
According to the Brant County Health Unit, there have been five confirmed influenza outbreaks in long-term care homes this season, as well as four outbreaks where it’s not clear what illness was to blame.
Beyond the official numbers, there are many flu cases that never result in hospital visits or reports to the health unit.
Brantford resident Bill Hann says about 25 of his relatives became “violently ill” after a Christmas function.
“At first they thought it was food poisoning, but it was just the flu,” he said.
“Most of them lost three to four days of work.”
With reporting by Victoria Levy