The mayor of Middleton, N.S., is calling for urgent hospital staffing improvements following the recent death of a patient who went into cardiac arrest when there was no doctor on site.
In a letter to Premier Tim Houston sent June 19, Middleton Mayor Sylvester Atkinson said that without a doctor on-site or on-call on the evening of June 15, the local volunteer fire department was called to respond to a patient in cardiac arrest.
The letter said EHS and firefighters responded with chest compressions while waiting for the doctor, who was more than 30 minutes away in Kentville.
The patient did not survive and the doctor called time of death upon arriving on scene, according to the letter.
“We are writing to communicate the severity of this incident,” Atkinson said.
“Our Middleton Fire Department, which is a volunteer municipal service, should not be called to a hospital to provide medical aid to an admitted inpatient.”
The mayor shared a copy of the letter to the premier on the Town of Middleton’s Facebook page Tuesday.
Atkinson said the fact that volunteer firefighters had to be called to perform emergency health-care for admitted hospital patients is “frightening.”
Pictured is the first page of a letter send from Mayor Sylvester Atkinson to Premier Tim Houston. “As a municipal body with much responsibility on our shoulders, we are not okay with this. This is simply wrong on so many levels. The province needs to step up and take accountability for this and take action to prevent it in the future.”
This patient’s death follows an email Atkinson said he sent to Houston’s office in early April regarding concerns about a chronically closed emergency department.
“Regrettably, we did not receive a response back from your office,” Atkinson wrote.
Pictured is the second page of a letter send from Mayor Sylvester Atkinson to Premier Tim Houston. The mayor did, however, hear back from Nova Scotia Health.
He said a meeting was held on May 11 to discuss the consistent ER closures, and “although a health discussion was had, we did not leave feeling confident that the province of Nova Scotia and Nova Scotia Health have a site-specific strategic plan for restoring SMH (Soldiers Memorial Hospital) ER to a 24/7 service.”
“We understand that work is very likely being done behind the scenes, however, to our residents and to us, there does not appear to be any headway being made,” Atkinson said.
Nova Scotia Health and Premier Houston’s office could not immediately be reached for comment.
More to come…