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Health authority looking into nine-hour wait by child with pneumonia at Langley hospital

Gracie Ackles case termed ‘very disappointing’ by director of emergency medicine
Dr. Craig Murray, regional medical director of emergency medicine for Fraser Health, confirmed Langley Memorial Hospital is talking to the parents of two-year-old Gracie Ackley (inset), who say she waited more than 9 hours to be diagnosed with pneumonia when they took her to the Emergency Department. (file)

Fraser Health Authority is looking into a complaint that a two-year-old with pneumonia waited more than nine hours to be diagnosed when her family took her to the Langley Memorial Hospital Emergency Department.

Dr. Craig Murray, regional medical director of emergency medicine for Fraser Health, confirmed the hospital is talking to the parents of two-year-old Gracie Ackley concerning their complaint.

“The team at LMH Emergency has already reached out and contacted the family,” Dr. Murray said.

“The family shared their frustration.”

Langley City residents Joel and Stefanie Ackley told the Langley Advance Times that when they took Gracie, who had developed shortness of breath and a fever, to LMH on Thursday, Jan. 26, they waited from 3:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. the next day before their daughter was diagnosed with pneumonia.

Joel Ackley confirmed the hospital has contacted them about the matter “and going to have somebody, hopefully soon, to reach out.”

READ ALSO: Parents say they waited hours for help at Langley ER while their daughter’s condition worsened

Dr. Murray said there is a mechanism for review in such cases.

While he said he could not comment on the specifics of the matter due to patient privacy, Murray said it was “very disappointing” to hear that the family waited as long as they did.

The hospital has been dealing with “huge numbers of pediatric respiratory cases” and while there are triage guidelines setting out ideal minimum wait times, “those goals are not always met,” Murray said.

The increase in child respiratory cases has meant added demand on the system, but “hopefully we’re through the worst,” Murray commented.

Deciding who gets seen when in an emergency department depends on severity, he explained.

“It’s immediate, if it’s life-threatening,” Murray said.

“Our goal is to see the sickest patients soonest.”

“People should rest assured that when they come to the emergency department, they will be assessed,” Murray pledged, adding emergency staff are doing their best to manage the situation.

“Do be patient, the team is working incredible hard,” he urged.

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In November, Dr. Murray told Black Press Media that hospitals across the country were experiencing a “higher-than-normal volumes of patients, including children, in our Emergency Departments.”

While it is normal to see an increase in respiratory illness around that time of year, the seasonal spike in respiratory illness does not happen all at once.

“What’s really unusual this year is that they are all arriving around the same tree of time,” said Murray.

He added that they are currently seeing almost double the number of respiratory illnesses this year in comparison to the same time last year.

READ ALSO: Canadians worried about the state of provincial health systems: poll

- with files from Surrey Now-Leader

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Dan Ferguson

About the Author: Dan Ferguson

Best recognized for my resemblance to St. Nick, I’m the guy you’ll often see out at community events and happenings around town.
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