System 'breakdown' at Cobourg hospital?

In theory, if a woman had a serious medical problem, a hospital lobby — just steps from an emergency ward — would be a good place for it to happen.


But not this time at the Northumberland Hills Hospital in Cobourg.

In fact, witnesses say doctors and nurses were not even the first people to attend to a woman who collapsed there Tuesday.

Or the second.

It was the Northumberland paramedics and members of the Cobourg Fire Department who answered the 911 call.

One witness told Postmedia’s Pete Fisher that instead of taking the woman into the hospital’s critical care areas, she was treated at the front door by paramedics and firefighters.

“I’m thinking they are going to head to the ER because that’s where you would triage patients — but no. They came to the front foyer,” said Patrick Ahern, 31, of Peterborough.

Ahern told me: “I feel before ambulance and fire trucks got there, she was just left there to die like a dog.”

Did she die? No one is talking.

“We are aware of an incident that occurred in the entryway leading into the front of the hospital earlier this week and we’re reviewing our team’s response,” hospital CEO Linda Davis told the Toronto Sun.

As for the woman’s identity and condition, hospital spokesman Jennifer Gillard explained “we are bound by patient confidentiality.”

That strict protocol is in tact.

One witness told me there was “a breakdown in the hospital’s system.” The woman’s husband and daughter were in shock.

Ahern said there was up to a five-minute lapse in the provision of medical help.

There was life-saving equipment and professionals all around but they waited for outside help.

“CPR was only administered when fire and ambulance got there,” said Ahern.

How could this be?

Davis said “while we cannot speak to the medical circumstances of the individual involved in the incident due to our need to comply with privacy requirements, we can confirm that steps were taken immediately and care was administered to an individual by Emergency Management Services as well as members of our Emergency Department staff.”

What steps were taken and when they were taken need to be examined.

“We’re reviewing, obviously, the team’s response,” added Davis. “The individuals in the area, volunteers, called for help, which is exactly what they have been instructed to do. We can confirm that steps were taken immediately and care was administered.”

Too late, say two credible people that Pete and, now, I have spoken with.

The Ministry of Health didn’t bother to respond but we need to know what transpired here? Were people able to call inside the hospital for help or did they receive a recording?

All players need to be interviewed and a timeline established. A full investigation is needed to find out what happened.

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