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QHC Emergency Rooms Experiencing Longer Wait Times

December 29, 2016

Hospital emergency rooms typically become even busier during the holiday season and this year is no exception locally. The hospitals in Belleville, Picton and Trenton are currently experiencing a 30% increase in the number of patients using the emergency rooms, with higher numbers of people also being admitted to the hospitals.

“We do ask people with non-urgent illnesses to consider other options before coming to the Emergency Room,” said Dr. Dick Zoutman, QHC Chief of Staff. “If you do come into the ER, please be patient and recognize that serious illnesses and injuries are treated first, which also adds to some people’s wait time.”

When to Visit the Emergency Room

Go to your nearest Emergency Room if you or a family member experiences any of the following:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath when doing very little or resting
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Continuous vomiting or severe diarrhea with signs of dehydration such as dry tongue, dry mouth, decreased peeing (no urine for the past 6-8 hours), or very yellow/orange, dark urine
  • Stiff neck and sensitivity to light
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Chest pain or tightness in the chest
  • A broken bone or a wound that may need stitches
  • Sudden, severe headaches, vision problems, sudden weakness, numbness and/or tingling sensations, trouble speaking, dizziness
  • Your infant, under three months of age, has a fever over 38.5C or 101F 
  • Your child has a fever and it is difficult to wake her/him


Being Prepared for an Emergency Department Visit


1.Come to the Emergency Department only when necessary

  • If you have a family physician, call him/her first to determine whether you can be seen in the physician’s office
  • If there is a walk-in clinic in the area, go there for your less urgent illness or injury
  • You can call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 to speak to a Registered Nurse
  • More information on health care options is available at: Ontario.ca/healthcareoptions

2.    If you must come to the Emergency Department, come prepared

  • Bring reading material or other distractions to pass the time
  • Don’t bring more than one family member/support person with you unless necessary (it adds to the congestion in the waiting room)
  • Clean your hands often to prevent the spread of infectious diseases


3.Be patient

  • The staff and physicians of the Emergency Department are working hard under often stressful conditions
  • The most serious injuries and illnesses are always dealt with first, and staff cannot predict when a very serious case will come through the doors. Therefore, people who arrive after you may be seen first. 
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