Quebec health minister says emergency room death of 86-year-old woman ‘disturbing’

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé says details surrounding the death of an 86-year-old woman in an emergency room last week are “disturbing” and “unacceptable.”

First reported by TVA Nouvelles, the family of Gilberte Gosselin says she was left to die in a hallway of the emergency room at Hôtel-Dieu hospital in Lévis, Que., and spent 48 hours without food or water before she died.

A spokesperson for Dubé says he has requested an explanation from the regional health authority that oversees the hospital near Quebec City where the woman died on Feb. 23.

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The regional health authority called the situation “unfortunate” and says the hospital experienced “significant overcrowding” both in the emergency room and in the care units during the period that Gosselin was hospitalized.

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A coroner has been assigned to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death and the health authority says the risk management department and the complaints commissioner will also investigate.

Dubé’s spokesperson says the Health Department will also look into Gosselin’s care, adding that “situations like this must not happen.”

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