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Mother of sick 2-year-old leaves Burnaby ER after waiting 6 hours to see doctor


Rachel Thexton says her two-year-old daughter Naiah had fallen ill for nearly a week, with no signs of improvement.

“She was in rough shape,” said the Burnaby mother of two.

“Keep in mind, I had a five-year-old at home who had recently been diagnosed with pneumonia.”

Thexton says Naiah was displaying similar symptoms and her fever was no longer reacting to Tylenol.

She called her pediatrician, who advised her to take Naiah to the BC Children’s Hospital emergency room.

“We see the triage line out the door, we see children who are visibly very ill,” said Thexton.

Thinking it would take hours just to get registered, Thexton instead drove to Burnaby Hospital. There, she was able to check in, but her daughter never got to see a doctor.

“We stayed in the room and no one even came to check her vitals, check her temperature,” said Thexton. “Her temperature was checked at triage, but that had been six hours prior.”

At 4 a.m., with her daughter begging to leave and hearing little communication from staff, Thexton decided her daughter’s health would be in better hands at home.

“Parents just really want to know what’s going on, especially after a six-hour wait with a small child,” Thexton said.

“We’re very sorry for this family’s experience,” said Craig Murray, physician and regional medical director for Fraser Health.

“It is never our goal to make anyone wait. We’d love to see everyone as soon as possible.”

Hospitals around the province are dealing with staffing shortages and overwhelming levels of illness, particularly in children. 

“In terms of pediatrics cases, yes, this is the busiest time I can remember,” said Murray.

Murray says alternative options for primary care include calling 811 for assistance or visiting an Urgent Primary Care Centre. Still, B.C.’s top doctor says emergency rooms remain a viable option.

“If you are concerned with your child, don’t put off that visit if you need to go to the emergency department,” said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry at a news conference Wednesday.

“You will be seen, you will be triaged, and we will all need to be patient.”

Thexton says Naiah received antibiotics from her family doctor and is now on the mend. The whole experience, however, left Thexton concerned for her children’s future.

“Right now, I feel as though our system, especially for our children in emergencies and surgeries, is really at a breaking point,” she said. Top Stories

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