A Montreal General Hospital emergency room patient is accusing its staff of neglecting patients.

Donna Sarraf was rushed to the ER in early December after being thrown from her horse and sustaining a severe chest injury.

When she arrived, the stretcher she was placed on didn’t have a call bell to alert the staff, and the commotion inside the room made it impossible for her to rest.

“There was a lot of crying and a lot of screaming and it was very difficult,” she said. “There would be patients coming in that were screaming obscenities and being wheeled out.”

She also alleges that the patient next to her was ignored by an ER doctor tasked with treating her.

The other patient had a broken hip and couldn’t speak.

Sarraf said that a doctor promised her medication to deal with the pain, but then disappeared for two hours.

The woman was then seen by another staff member, but still not given anything to manage her pain.

“I felt horrible for this lady,” Sarraf said. “She has no voice and she has a broken hip and she’s been promised medication for two hours and the doctors just have not followed through.”

In an email to CTV Montreal, the MUHC defended its doctors.

“MUHC doctors, clinical staff, and employees do their best to care for patients professionally and compassionately,” it said.

The MUHC also said that the incident warrants an investigation, and that they intend to start that process as soon as possible.

Patient advocates attribute several factors to the poor quality of care.

“Why are emergency units and waiting units not welcoming,” Paul Brunet, a health advocate, asked. “I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a veterinarian, but [the clinics] are very welcoming and the space, the environment, is very welcoming.”

There’s also the issue of the number of nurses in the province. 

Brunet said that about a thousand nurses have left the profession.

“This is historic,” he said. “We’ve never seen that before.”

In July 2017, the Liberal government promised a $300 million renovation of the Montreal General Hospital’s ER.

It’s not yet known if the new CAQ government will follow through on those plans.