The entrance to the new ER at Surrey Memorial Hospital.

Surrey ER docs still covering cardiac arrests in ICU: officials

Intensive care unit director resigned, but Fraser Health says staff promise critical patients will be resuscitated.

Fraser Health officials are denying reports that emergency doctors at Surrey Memorial Hospital had declined to provide after-hours coverage of cardiac arrests in the hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU).

Dr. Urbain Ip, medical director at SMH, said discussions have been underway for some time between ER doctors and hospital officials over how best to reorganize coverage in light of worsening hospital congestion.

ER doctors who are under growing pressure want their counterparts in ICU to begin handling their own department’s cardiac emergencies when possible, a break from the past practice of calling in ER staff.

But Ip said the ER physicians have now agreed to continue covering ICU “code blue” calls to resuscitate cardiac arrest victims when the ICU team is unavailable.

“The ER doctors have promised me that when they are requested to go to ICU to attend cardiac arrest they will not refuse, they will go upon request.”

The ICU director at SMH, Dr. Grant McCormack, resigned his position but Ip said he couldn’t speculate as to the reason.

“I want to guarantee that Fraser Health Authority is not going to allow anything other than best patient care,” he said.

Ip said he expects discussions about potential changes to continue on how best to handle cardiac emergencies.

Fraser Health spokesperson Tasleem Juma called it an ongoing discussion and said it’s merely a coincidence the issue has boiled up in public after the opening of Surrey Memorial’s new ER, which is already overloaded to the point that patients are once again being treated in hallways.

“Patient care for cardiac arrest is not being compromised or changed,” she said.

“This is about looking at, as the hospital grows and expands and there’s more demand, how to ensure that those services are being delivered in a timely way and how can they work cooperatively to make sure that continues to happen.”

Dr. Adam Lund, a spokesman for emergency room physicians based at Royal Columbian Hospital, said ER doctors at SMH and other Lower Mainland hospitals are swamped.

“We are chronically overcrowded,” Lund said.

“Hospitals are often operating beyond capacity and the emergency departments are the default locations to store patients until there can be turnover up on the wards.”

Lund stressed he could not speak for Surrey ER doctors, but said it seems logical to him that they might be seeking to negotiate more funding for ER coverage to ensure it’s not impaired when a member of the ER team is called away to ICU and a critically ill patient arrives through the front door.

Just Posted

Surrey moves to ban sleeping overnight in RVs, motorhomes on city streets

Proposal comes amid complaints about homeless people living in recreational vehicles

$50,000 reward for ‘extremely violent’ South Surrey murder suspect renewed

Offer for information on Brandon Teixeira to remain in effect through April, 2020

Surrey restaurant owner who pointed handgun at staff loses court appeal

Jawahar Singh Padda tried to get his 30-month sentenced reduced

South Surrey man allows smart meter installation ‘under duress’

BC Hydro says devices emit fraction of radio frequency from a cellphone

White Rock senior ‘just sick’ about lost rings

Wedding, engagement bands discovered missing on Oct. 7

ELECTION 2019: It’s so close, it could come down to who turns out to vote

Black Press Media’s polling analyst on the origins of predictive seat modelling in Canada

Jack’s Devils beat Quinn’s Canucks 1-0 in NHL brother battle

New Jersey youngster scores first career goal against Vancouver

Two charged after owner’s wild ride through Kamloops in his stolen truck

Crystal Rae Dorrington, 37, and Derrick Ronald Pearson, 32, facing multiple charges

Kamloops Blazers blank Vancouver Giants

A loss on the road for G-men

Man found dead inside Richmond business, IHIT investigating

Police believe the incident was not random

Judge orders credit union’s bank records for Kelowna social worker facing theft allegations

The man is accused of negligence, breach of contract, fraud and a conspiracy with Interior Savings

Leaders pour it on with rallies, boosts for candidates as campaign reaches peak

The federal election campaign has reached a crescendo

Allegations of racism lead to ministry investigation at Vancouver private school

St. George’s School was contacted over what the school describes as ‘deeply offensive behaviour online’

Not a political question: Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta

Edmonton police estimated the size of the crowd at about 4,000

Most Read