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Woman dies in ER waiting room at Kamloops hospital

The 70-year-old woman died while waiting for several hours to be seen by medical staff
Royal Inland Hospital is in downtown Kamloops at Columbia Street and Third Avenue. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week)

Kamloops This Week

An investigation has commenced into the death of a woman in the waiting room of the ER at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops.

The death of the 70-year-old woman occurred on Wednesday morning after she had been waiting for several hours to be seen by medical staff.

It is not known what caused her death.

The woman’s daughter, Amanda Young of Calgary, told Radio NL — which originally reported on the incident — that her mother was taken to hospital by another daughter due to stomach pains.

Kamloops This Week contacted Interior Health to ask for clarification of what happened, asking how long the patient was waiting and for what ailment treatment was being sought.

KTW also asked if Interior Health could confirm the number of people waiting for treatment at the time and the average wait time in the ER.

Interior Health issued a response via email.

“While we cannot speak to this situation, Interior Health reviews all unexpected deaths that occur in a hospital to determine what took place,” the response noted.

“We know these are very difficult situations for all those who are impacted and our thoughts are with those impacted. Our priority at Royal Inland Hospital is to ensure emergency department patients are triaged and seen in a timely fashion, and that they receive care based on the urgency of their needs.”

Royal Inland Hospital has been the subject recently of numerous news articles regarding staffing shortages and low morale.

It has been reported that about two-thirds of the nurses in ER have recently left the job due to burnout, leaving nurses and doctors dealing with far more patients than they normally would.

In addition, at least three straight weeks of elective surgeries were cancelled due to staffing shortages and limited time in operating rooms, coupled with a surge in COVID-19 patients and those who were bought to RIH from areas under wildfire-related evacuation orders and alerts.

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