Even the morgue is overcapacity at The Ottawa Hospital

The Ottawa Hospital, which has struggled to deal with overcrowding in recent times, is going through a brand new problem: an overflowing morgue.

The hospital was compelled to create momentary morgues — together with one in a former storage room beneath The Ottawa Hospital Analysis Institute — final month after operating out of house in its present morgues.

In December, some employees complained after by accident strolling into areas the place our bodies have been being quickly saved, together with a particular hazmat room within the emergency division, in accordance with union officers.

Dr. Alan Forster, vice-president of innovation and high quality at The Ottawa Hospital, mentioned that house was used quickly till the hospital may discover a higher resolution. It was “clearly not applicable” for long-term use, he mentioned.

Forster mentioned momentary morgues have now been created to deal with the overflow: one in an post-mortem room on the Civic and one in a storage room beneath the Loeb constructing on the Civic, which homes the analysis institute. That has expanded the morgue capability on the Civic from seven to 17, he mentioned. The morgue on the Common can accommodate 27 our bodies.

Forster mentioned the brand new areas have been a brief repair and there must be a everlasting resolution to the problem.

Ambulances in line on the Civic Campus of The Ottawa Hospital on Tuesday.

Tony Caldwell /


In the meantime, Lou Burri, president of CUPE 4000, which represents hospital staff, mentioned hospital employees have been persevering with to lift considerations concerning the problem.

Over the vacations, Burri mentioned hospital staff within the Loeb constructing complained a few scent they couldn’t determine and a few individuals felt sick and went residence sick.

Burri mentioned the staff had no thought a brief morgue had been created of their constructing earlier than seeing media studies.

Forster mentioned he was not conscious of any complaints, however mentioned he had been to the positioning and “there is no such thing as a scent.”

Burri additionally mentioned a hospital worker walked right into a boardroom final fall to discover a physique there. The worker was “greatly surprised. They don’t seem to be ready for that. Stuff like that occurs when the morgues are full.”

Forster mentioned the hospital had by no means saved our bodies in convention rooms or different areas, however generally employees may need moved a physique out of a affected person room till relations arrived.

“We aren’t storing our bodies wherever.”

The Ottawa Hospital just isn’t the one one struggling to cope with morgue overcapacity. It is a matter the province’s auditor basic has drawn consideration to, particularly at a time when the variety of unclaimed our bodies within the province is on the rise for causes which might be unclear.

In a report launched final summer time, the Workplace of the Chief Coroner of Ontario famous an “uncommon enhance” within the variety of unclaimed physique circumstances in Ontario in 2017 and 2018. In 2018, 60 unclaimed our bodies have been buried by the Metropolis of Ottawa, in accordance with the report. The Metropolis of Toronto buried 250 our bodies. A number of the enhance might be as a result of higher monitoring of the problem, the report famous.

The Ottawa Hospital retains the our bodies of all native sufferers awaiting autopsies and people of people who find themselves unclaimed in its morgue, along with the our bodies of people that die whereas within the hospital.

Attempting to trace family members or mates of unclaimed our bodies can take time, Regional Supervising Coroner Louise McNaughton-Filion mentioned, which might add to the morgue backlog.

As well as, The Ottawa Hospital has been chronically over capability in recent times.

Forster mentioned the hospital wanted a greater resolution to cope with morgue house which, just like the growing older Civic hospital, was not designed to deal with present numbers.

Amongst potential options, he mentioned, is perhaps constructing a brand new central morgue outdoors of the hospital. However that call is a accountability of the municipal and provincial governments, he mentioned.

The Metropolis of Ottawa is already working with The Ottawa Hospital on one severe overcrowding problem: the variety of ambulances ready to dump sufferers within the crowded emergency division. Within the first eight months of 2019, there have been 329 situations of “degree zero,” — no ambulances obtainable to answer calls.

In an announcement Tuesday, Peter Kelly, appearing chief of the Ottawa Paramedic Service, mentioned the state of affairs had not improved within the final a part of the yr.

He added lack of morgue house would doubtless have a adverse influence on paramedics.

“Any actions taken by The Ottawa Hospital that influence the operation of its emergency division, such because the hiring of nurses, deploying extra worker sources or the provision of morgue house, would influence the power of paramedics to return to the group to serve the residents of Ottawa.”


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