ER congestion: Since SARS outbreak, ER situation ‘worse’
In 2003, a man came into the emergency room at Vancouver General Hospital with breathing problems.
He was turning blue.
Dr. Lyne Filiatrault saw him and immediately took him into an examination area, got him on oxygen and, having read the notices distributed by the province’s disease-control agency, moved the man into an isolation room.
In doing so, Filiatrault dealt with the first patient in British Columbia to have severe acute respiratory syndrome, the illness the public came to know as SARS.
Through her quick action, said her husband, Dr. Don Haughton, Filiatrault helped prevent the kind of pandemic that ultimately cost Ontario’s economy $500 million and saw 44 people die from SARS, with thousands more quarantined.
In B.C., only five SARS cases were reported — and each patient recovered.
Haughton said his wife talked about those days recently as she realized a decade has gone by.
“And she said to me that, since 2003, it’s gotten so much worse in the ER that she might not have been able to do that now like she did then.
“He would have been in the waiting room, infecting people.”