An unbearable wait

Derek Montague
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Happy Valley-Goose Bay woman claims she waited 13 hours at hospital with daughter

The emergency entrance at the Labrador Health Centre

A Happy Valley-Goose Bay woman is concerned and upset over emergency room waiting times, after she and her nine-year-old daughter waited 13 hours to see a doctor.

Valerie Pye claims that on Feb. 25, she and her daughter McKenzie checked into the emergency department at the Labrador Health Centre around 10:30 a.m. McKenzie was feeling ill, and Pye was worried she might have had an infection.

After a nurse gave McKenzie an assessment, the mother and daughter were back in the waiting room around 11:10 a.m. From that point on, said Pye, it was an unbearably long wait.

“My head went over a couple of times, because people were going in and going out through and we were still sitting there,” said Pye.

As the afternoon hours passed, according to Pye, other patients were called in ahead of McKenzie. Many came into the emergency room after McKenzie was checked in.

Pye said she had no issues with people going ahead of her daughter if there was a serious emergency. But she claims that there were some non-emergency cases that were given priority over McKenzie.

“There was a van that came in from Sheshatshiu and they all offloaded and went in through and registered,” said Pye.

“Meanwhile, there was another child who came in that was very, very sick. There was another young lady came in who was very, very sick. And, you know what, I have no problem with them going ahead of us.”

Pye claims the person working at the front desk of the emergency room wasn’t very sympathetic to their predicament.

“I went over to the front desk clerk and I had said to her, ‘can you tell me where McKenzie is on the list?’”

“‘Well I can’t tell you that (was her response).’”

At 5:45 p.m. Pye decided that she and McKenzie needed to get something in their stomachs. According to Pye, there was no one at the front desk at the time to inform the staff that they were going to eat, and would be back later.

Pye and McKenzie arrived back at the emergency room around 6:50 p.m., only to be informed that McKenzie would have to be reregistered.

“The nurse looked at me and said ‘because you left we have to reregister you,’” said Pye.

“They went and re-registered McKenzie and then we ended up at the bottom of the pile again.”

Pye and her daughter finally got to see a doctor at 11:45 p.m. After just five minutes with the doctor, Pye was told that McKenzie did indeed have an infection, and prescribed some medication.

Pye said she’s in disbelief over the incident.

“Why isn’t there another doctor called in? Why isn’t there a nurse practitioner called in to look at the children?” asked Pye.

“A nine-year-old should not have to sit and wait for 13 hours.”

According to Pye, she has sent letters of concern to several people at Labrador Grenfell Health, including chief executive officer Tony Wakeham, and members of the board of directors.

Pye also said that she met with the emergency room co-ordinator after the incident, to express her concerns.

“She has assured me that she will be looking into it …” said Pye.

But, as of March 19, Pye claims that no one from Labrador Grenfell Health had reached out to her.

A spokesperson for Labrador Grenfell Health declined an interview request from The Labradorian, due to legislation in the Privacy Act.

Organizations: Labrador Health Centre, Labrador Grenfell Health

Geographic location: Happy Valley, Goose Bay

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Recent comments

  • kim
    June 24, 2014 - 06:48

    The health system is shir. I waited 9 hours with my 5 month old who had a fave of 104.6 and when I finally got in I was told to bring him back if it lasts more then 48 hours. This was at the iwk .

  • Joy Hussey
    March 24, 2014 - 08:27

    This is ridiculous. It's one thing to keep an adult waiting but a child, what if something happened to her in the waiting room who would be at fault than. I know our Health care system isn't the best anywhere but to give special treatment to other people cause of where they live is shocking. Keep fighting & don't stop till you get answers