Man with hockey injury turned away from N.S. emergency room
Published Thursday, March 21, 2019 8:58PM ADT
Days after a Nova Scotia emergency room received backlash after sending a man with cancer home without treatment, CTV News has heard from another person who went to the emergency room to see a doctor, but received no medical attention, only a pink sheet.
Jeremy Swinemar was playing his usual Friday night hockey game, when a puck ricocheted and hit him square in the face.
“The guys kind of helped me up, it rung my bell pretty good, and I knew right away something was wrong, it wasn’t a regular hockey injury,” says Swinemar.
He immediately headed to the nearest emergency room at the Cobequid Health Centre. He was triaged and sent home with a pink letter, telling him that treatment was unavailable that night because staff had more serious cases to handle before the E.R. closed at midnight.
Swinemar found out the next day that he had fractured his orbital bone, cheek and sinus wall.
“It was hard because I sat there and I was watching everybody,” says Swinemar. “The nurses and the doctors and the medical staff just running around, trying to do the best they could with what they’re being given, and it’s just not enough.”
Controversy about the practice of handing out pink sheets has ramped up online in recent days, after a post from a woman who complained her father who was suffering from cancer was also sent home with a pink letter and no treatment.
N.S. Health Minister Randy Delorey says the practice makes sense, especially in facilities where hours are limited such as the Cobequid Health Centre.
“In terms of the Cobequid site, knowing that there is a point in time when the facility closes, they do work to ensure that they see as many patients as possible and provide them all with appropriate care,” said Delorey, speaking from an announcement in Dartmouth on Wednesday.
“It’s not acceptable the numbers of people we have who to go to the emergency room looking for care and after 8, 10 or 12 hours, give up and go home,” responded N.S. NDP leader Gary Burrill.
As Jeremy Swinemar recovers from his injuries, he admits he’s deeply concerned about the province’s healthcare system, and the men and women on the front lines.
“They’re trying to push water back up over a waterfall, but they’re being given buckets with holes in them, and the water just keeps coming,” says Swinemar.
Health Minister Randy Delorey went on to remind reporters that the province is spending in the neighbourhood of $2 billion on healthcare in the Halifax area alone.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Bruce Frisko.