Tim Hortons turned into temporary ER room

Ahh, Tim Hortons. Tasty donuts, fresh coffee and...a hospital stretcher? A nurse?

It's a strange scene, but this was the case Monday night when the Tim Hortons at the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster was transformed into an emergency room due to a shortage of beds. 

A shortage of beds on a Monday night? 

CBC News reported hospital staff at Royal Columbian Hospital were forced to set up a temporary emergency room between 11:15 p.m. and 12:45 a.m. The hospital was overwhelmed when 100 patients were checked in, leaving five without beds.

According to the director of public affairs David Plug, the Tim Hortons is actually a “designated overflow area” because of its proximity to the hospital's emergency room.The five overflow patients "with stretchers and privacy screens were monitered and assessed" in this temporary ER.

Outside of a natural disaster, is this acceptable? The hospital reportedly experienced overcrowding in May 2008 as well, but the plans for a permanent overflow emergency room have yet to materialize. 

Visiting an emergency room can be a lengthy process. I’m glad the the patients were eventually treated, but it makes me wonder why the sick and injured are being made to wait in a donut shop. Did the Tim Hortons meet the hospital's sanitary standards?  What is the Fraser Health Authority doing to ensure that this kind of situation doesn’t happen again? 

I’m worried our city is more concerned with building casinos and sports arenas than improving the quality of our hospitals. The New Westminster hospital is slated for renovations, unfortunately so are many other Fraser Health Authority facilities. 

Tim Hortons is a famous Canadian icon for coffee, not health care. I take mine with two sugars and a lot of milk; next time leave the trauma out of it.

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