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Mental health patient waits 24 hours in ER, sleeps on floor at LHSC
Published Wednesday, August 7, 2019 10:38AM EDT Last Updated Wednesday, August 7, 2019 1:29PM EDT
A mental health patient waited for over 24 hours in the emergency department at Victoria Hospital, and ended up sleeping on the floor while waiting for care.
It was between two rows of waiting room chairs that 21-year-old Kristin Legault slept on the floor inside the emergency department at the London Health Sciences Centre's Victoria Hospital.
“There was nowhere to put me, I kept asking my nurse too, when am I going to get a stretcher and when am I going to get somewhere to sleep, so I eventually laid on the floor.”
Legault was brought to the hospital after seeing her general practitioner earlier that day, who recommended she go to the emergency room.
She says she was admitted, changed into a gown and then made to wait in a small area with some chairs and no privacy curtain.
Her grandmother brought her a pillow to try to make her comfortable since the long wait was causing Legault more stress.
“I had to ask the nurse for anxiety medication a few times because my anxiety was really bad and I felt I wasn’t getting any help and I felt the system is really broken,” Legault explains.
She says was eventually given a stretcher in the waiting area for a couple hours overnight but was told she was number 14 in line for a mental health bed.
She was released by doctors to be in the care of her grandmother.
“I could’ve benefitted from my medication being tweaked and being in a safe place.”
The vice president of Emergency Services and Mental Health at LHSC, Julie Trpkovski, says she’s sorry to hear this happened
“When a patient comes forward and says they didn’t have a good experience as the vice president of mental health services I just want to apologize to that patient.”
Trpkovski says currently the mental health department at Victoria Hospital is at around 110 per cent capacity, after a rapid increase of 47 per cent in mental health volumes over the last five years.
“That number alone is not unique to LHSC. It’s happening across the province, but that also means at times we have to use unconventional spaces, but we are looking at how can we better serve our patients.”
London West MPP Peggy Sattler, who has been fighting for change for mental health patients, says situations like Legault’s are unacceptable.
“We hear too often that it’s the mental health patients who are forced and put into these very undignified conditions.”
In the meantime Legault still feels she needs further help, but says at this point she doesn’t want to go back to the hospital.
“It’s traumatizing and every time I leave the ER, I feel defeated.”
CTV News reporter Celine Moreau personally visited Legault and her family in the hospital when she was waiting for care during those 24 hours.
Legault had also been to Victoria Hospital several days before this incident for an overdose and was released the same day.