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  • Writer's picturePatrick Swadden

This newborn waited 5 hours for a doctor. Experts say Ontario's ER wait times have never been worse

Markham, Ont., man says 2-week-old son wasn't seen by triage nurse for an hour

CBC News · Posted: Jan 06, 2024 5:00 AM EST | Last Updated: January 6

Joey Salmingo says it took an hour for his son to be assessed by a triage nurse at Markham Stouffville Hospital and another seven before he was seen by a doctor. (Craig Chivers/CBC)

When Joey Salmingo took his newborn to an Ontario emergency room in late December, he didn't expect him to wait five hours to be seen by a doctor and eight hours to be admitted to the hospital.

Salmingo says it took an hour for his son, who had a fever and was only two and a half weeks old at the time, just to be assessed by a triage nurse at a hospital north of Toronto on Dec. 30

"The biggest thing and most upsetting thing is the fact that this is just commonplace," said Salmingo.

Salmingo says his son was discharged on Jan. 2 and is now healthy and at home.

But according Dr. Raghu Venugopal, an emergency physician who works in three Toronto hospitals, an eight-hour wait time "shatters any notion of what is acceptable medical care" in Canada.

He says a child with a fever could have sepsis — a serious condition in which the immune system has an extreme response to an infection — and should have been seen by a physician within 15 to 30 minutes.


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