ontario news watch

Fire department called to assist dying patient in N.S. hospital with no doctor

HALIFAX — A Nova Scotia mayor says a patient died last week in his Annapolis Valley town after going into cardiac arrest at a hospital where no doctor was present.

Mayor Sylvester Atkinson of Middleton, N.S., says volunteer firefighters were called to the Soldiers Memorial Hospital to attend to a patient because the closest doctor was 30 minutes away.

Atkinson made the comments in a letter to Premier Tim Houston that was made public. 

Health Minister Michelle Thompson told reporters today in Halifax that she couldn’t comment on the case because of privacy concerns.

Thompson says, however, that it is unfortunate the patient’s family is being made to grieve publicly because the letter was posted online.

In 2022, the deaths of 37-year-old Allison Holthoff and 67-year-old Charlene Snow — both of whom waited hours to receive emergency care — prompted the province to assign extra physician assistants to emergency rooms.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 21, 2023.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press

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