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Woman dies after waiting seven hours in the emergency room

Daisy Phillipson

Published 
| Last updated 

Woman dies after waiting seven hours in the emergency room

Featured Image Credit: Facebook/Ali Holthoff

A 37-year-old woman has tragically died after a seven-hour wait in a hospital emergency room.

Allison Holthoff's husband Gunter from Nova Scotia, Canada, said his wife started to feel ill on New Year's Eve and was suffering from an upset stomach.

When her condition worsened the following day, he rushed Allison to the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre in the morning.

Speaking to CBC News, Gunter said: "She was obviously in pain. I was rolling her in the wheelchair and she could hardly sit up."

Despite leaving for the emergency room at around 11:00am that morning, it wasn't until after 6:00pm that Allison was finally seen by a doctor.

Gunter Holthoff is devastated over the loss of his wife. Credit: Facebook/Ali Holthoff
Gunter Holthoff is devastated over the loss of his wife. Credit: Facebook/Ali Holthoff

Prior to this, nurses had asked Allison for a urine sample so that medical staff could determine the treatment she required.

However, Gunter said she was in so much pain that she fell to the floor in the bathroom.

"I couldn't get her up myself so I went outside the door and just asked for help," he said.

"I told the nurses and the lady at the desk there a couple of times, 'It is getting worse,' and nothing happened."

Eventually, Allison was no longer able to sit in the wheelchair the hospital provided and so she resorted to lying on the floor.

Gunter added: "The security guards, in time, they brought a couple blankets out and they brought us a cup of water and I used it to put some ice on her lips."

The 37-year-old told her husband that she thought she was dying. Despite the seriousness of the situation, they still hadn't seen a doctor by 3:00pm, although she was moved to a bed.

The husband says he wants people to remember Allison as an 'animal lover, firefighter, mother and wife'. Credit: Facebook/Ali Holthoff
The husband says he wants people to remember Allison as an 'animal lover, firefighter, mother and wife'. Credit: Facebook/Ali Holthoff

After screaming out in pain, a nurse came to take Allison's blood pressure and they discovered it was alarmingly low.

She wasn't seen by a doctor until after 6:00pm, but as the staff prepped her for testing, he condition took a turn for the worse.

"The next thing is [her] eyes rolled back in her head and her chest started rising," said Gunter.

"Something started beeping. The next thing you hear is over the PA, 'Code blue, code blue in X-ray.'"

At this point, the staff flooded in and Gunter was told to leave as doctors attempted to resuscitate Allison.

"Even if she would have survived at that point... she had too long a time without sufficient blood flow to the brain and vital organs," he said. "It would have been not a life worth living."

Tragically, Allison passed away and her husband is no closer to knowing what went wrong, as he explained he's still not received the results of her autopsy.

He went on to tell the outlet: "We need change, the system is obviously broken. Or if it's not broken yet, it's not too far off.

"Something needs to improve. I don't want anybody else to go through this.

Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin has reached out to the Health Minister and Nova Scotia Health Authority to express concerns about emergency care. Credit: Facebook
Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin has reached out to the Health Minister and Nova Scotia Health Authority to express concerns about emergency care. Credit: Facebook

"I want a spot where if my kids break their legs, we can take them to the hospital if anything happens."

Gunter has since sought the help of his local MLA, Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin, to find out what went wrong.

Earlier this month, she messaged Health Minister Michelle Thompson to request an investigation into the death, saying she wants the 'family to have answers'.

Smith-McCrossin said: "They've heard nothing from anyone in government and the challenge is because they're not hearing anything, it's getting more and more upsetting."

Tyla has contacted Michelle Thompson and the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre for comment.

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677

Topics: News, Health, Real Life

Daisy Phillipson
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