‘I usually go through an ER shift where I’m seeing 10 people with chest pain to rule out a heart attack, (now), I’m not seeing anyone’
In a normal week, when the world is open, Dr. Kari Sampsel, who practices emergency medicine in Ottawa, can expect to see about 17 or 18 victims of partner violence, sexual assault or both coming through her hospital’s ER. “Some days are busier than others,” Sampsel, the medical director for the Ottawa Hospital’s sexual assault and partner abuse care program, said. “Sometimes you get lots of patients. Some days you get none.”
It isn’t just heart patients, either. Overall ER volumes in Ontario are down anywhere between 20 and 50 per cent, depending on the hospital, Carr said. Doctors are seeing fewer stroke patients, fewer patients with appendicitis. In Vancouver, Dr. Daniel Kalla, the head of the emergency department at St. Paul’s Hospital, is seeing fewer opioid overdose patients, even as the number of overdose deaths in that province continues to climb. “The issue is, where the —- are all these patients?” Carr said.
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