Diaries Magazine

You Want a Coffee With That Bedpan? How About a French Cruller?

By Torontoemerg

Speaking of which. Call it the donutification* of health care. (For my American readers, Tim Horton’s is a coffee/donut shop which is close to being a national institution.) Best line has to go the the nurses union president, who (if inevitably) advised the local health authority to “wake up and smell the coffee.”

Overflowing hospital ER spills into nearby Tim Hortons

When more than 100 patients overflowed the 48 beds in the Royal Columbian Hospital’s emergency room late Monday and early Tuesday, officials looked across the hall at a Tim Hortons outlet and started moving stretchers in. ER doctor spokesman Dr. Sheldon Glazer said it was better than the alternative of treating more people in hallways, as it allowed for better care and privacy.

Overflowing emergency rooms have been a long-standing problem in Lower Mainland hospitals. The problem is in part due to delays in transferring people out of emergency to beds in other wards.


With the consent of the café owners, it was converted into an overflow ER space with six stretchers. The area was sanitized, tables and chairs moved out, stretchers moved in and privacy screens installed.

Patients started occupying the beds about an hour after the outlet closed to the coffee and doughnut customers.

[Thanks to Zoe for bringing this to my attention yesterday.]

British Columbia Ministry of Health officials and hospital administrators are falling over each other to praise and congratulate the ED staff’s resourcefulness. Little mention from these functionaries of actually fixing the problem of ED overcrowding.


*Which can be formally described as any ad hoc, dramatic fix to intractable systemic problem actually in the health care system, which unfortunately actually fixes nothing .

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