Overcrowded Montreal hospital asks public to stay away

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Friday, April 6, 2007

Province of Québec, Canada.

The Montreal Heart Institute (MHI) notified the public, through a news release Wednesday, that a recent high volume of patients has put a strain on the hospital's resources. The MHI requested that the public avoid its emergency department and find alternate care, if possible. It did indicate that acute care emergency patients would not be turned away.

The notice was to be in place for 24 hours from Wednesday. On Thursday, the MHI issued a extension to the public notice for an additional 24-hour period.

The number of patients that visited the MHI over the past few months had been abnormally high and reached a peak in the past two weeks, according to the head of emergency services. Alain Vadeboncoeur indicated that it was unusual for the MHI to put out such an advisory, but assured the public that the hospital would "always take the big emergencies."

The hospital treats 45 to 50 emergency patients per day, typically, but that number jumped to as many as 70 patients per day in the past two weeks. The MHI maintains 153 beds, including 42 in medical intensive care and 29 in surgical intensive care and performs 1,850 cardiac surgeries yearly.

It was suggested by the MHI that people requiring non-emergency care contact their regional Info-Santé for telephone-based advice, or visit a local clinic.

Founded in 1954, the MHI specializes in cardiovascular treatment, with an emphasis on prevention, specialized care, research, and assessment of new technologies. The MHI is a teaching facility affiliated with the University of Montreal.