Update: On average, one person is brought to the hospital each week in very serious condition from midnight to 8 a.m. Monday to Thusday, Interior Health said.
Interior Health Authority released statistics about Princeton Hospital’s emergency department at a town council meeting when scheduled ER closures from midnight to 8 a.m. Monday to Thursday were announced.
Around seven per cent of unscheduled emergency room visits happen from midnight to 8 a.m., according to Interior Health data from 2011 to 2012.
The smallest number of visits – less than one per cent – are by people whose lives are in danger or who may lose a limb, requiring “immediate aggressive interventions.”
Two per cent of people arriving at the hospital are in serious need of help, with their life or limb potentially in danger. They require rapid medical intervention.
On average, one person is brought to the hospital in very serious condition from midnight to 8 a.m. Monday to Thusday.
Seventeen per cent of visits are “urgent” conditions that could progress to a serious problem requiring emergency intervention.
The largest number of visits – 41 per cent – are classified as “less urgent,” when a condition is related to patient age, distress or when care is needed in one to two hours, while 32 per cent of cases are classified “non-urgent.”
A graph representing unscheduled emergency department visits to Princeton Hospital midnight to 8 a.m. These visits are by people who may lose their life or limb and require immediate or rapid medical intervention. Provided by Interior Health Authority.
Another doctor needed
Interior Health’s problem finding a doctor to cover Princeton Hospital’s emergency department was made apparent at a town council meeting April 2 when it was announced the hospital would be closed from midnight to 8 a.m. Monday to Thursday starting on May 1.
The closures are expected to last a year, a representative said.
Princeton needs a new doctor who can look after the emergency room by him or herself and be willing to go on-call during the night.
But this new doctor – to add to the three who already practice here – is hard to find, according to Interior Health.
“What we’re looking for is someone who has a good general background in medicine, who has the confidence and the competence to deal with an emergency situation,” Dr. Jon Slater, senior medical director, acute services west for Interior Health, adding that a newly graduated doctor could be appropriate.
“[Emergency situations] aren’t going to happen often in Princeton, but about once or twice or month someone needs to be on with advance emergency skills.”
The doctor would be the head of a team that includes nurses and X-ray technicians without any backup readily available, he said.