Toronto Mike

The St. Joseph's Troubleshooters


When Grand River Hospital in Kitchener-Waterloo shut down its emergency ward, Health Minister George Smitherman sent in a team of troubleshooters from St. Joseph's Health Centre.  Apparently, St. Joseph's has one of the best emergency wards in the province.  Only a few months ago I experienced the St. Joseph's emergency procedure first hand and wrote "Hurry Up and Wait" about the ordeal.

The lack of wait at St. Joe's is really an illusion of sorts.  You're periodically shuffled from one wait to another as opposed to suffering through one long wait at the very beginning.  The benefits are that you get to see a triage nurse right away and I only had to wait about two hours before I got to a point where they offered me pain killers.  Here were the eight waits, totaling approximately five hours.

Wait #1: Triage Nurse - Upon arrival, you've got to check in.  I was third in line which made this wait bearable.  If you show up with something clearly life threatening, you get to move to the front of this line!
Wait #2: Registration - After checking in with the triage nurse, you get to sit down for a while and wait to be called by the registration desk.  This was only a half hour wait, but keep in mind it was really early on a Monday morning.  On the bright side, they had a TV in this room and they were airing live action from the French Open.
Wait #3: Ambulatory - Here you leave your chart and sit down for an hour or two.  Luckily, there's a TV in this area airing CBC Newsworld.  60% of the broadcast was about the terrorist bust this weekend and 35% was about the Stanley Cup final kicking off tonight.  The other 5% was the weather forecast.  This wait is to see a nurse, not an actual doctor.
Wait #4: The Doctor - After being reviewed by a nurse in a little room I was actually sent to a different little room to wait for a doctor.  I'm now in my fifth waiting location and about three hours into my hospital stay.
Wait #5: Blood Work - After finally seeing a doctor I was asked to wait for another nurse who would take my blood.  In the meantime, I'm asked to give a urine sample.
Wait #6: X-Ray - After giving up a couple of bodily fluids it was time for an x-ray.  This wait takes place in the same place as wait #3 which means more news about the terror arrests, more shots of the CN Tower, TSX and Peace Tower and more discussions with police officers, RCMP and Muslim community leaders.
Wait #7: Results - This was supposed to be the last wait.  I was back in front of CBC Newsworld awaiting word from the doctor regarding my urine, blood and x-ray.  From what I could tell, they were looking for something related to my kidneys which could explain the back pain.  The next time my name is called, I'd be done... or so I thought.
Wait #8: Results II - They called my name after wait #7 and told me they needed more blood.  Did they lose the original vial?  Were they double checking because I tested positive for something serious?  Why were they tapping my poor veins for more juice?  I was afraid to ask and just did what I was told like a good Canadian boy.

Remember, this is the best our province has.  Other hospitals are actually worse.  Some, like the Grand River Hospital, even lock their doors.

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