QUEEN’S PARK – Donna Thompson, an 87-year-old Welland woman, suffered a heart attack and was rushed to Welland hospital Tuesday, where she waited for nine hours in a wheelchair in a crowded hallway, according to a news release sent by Welland MPP Cindy Forster’s office on Thursday.

Forster questioned Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals Thursday morning at Queen’s Park about the ongoing hospital crowding crisis and what she termed the government’s inaction.

Thompson’s wait in the emergency department hallway—sitting upright in a wheelchair despite the heart attack and arthritis in her back —was because the hospital was so overcrowded that there were no stretchers available for her to lay down, according to the news release.

“Donna was in severe pain for those nine hours. She has arthritis in her back. The chair was too big, and she was stationed by the busy triage area under a phone,” said Forster. “Hospital overcrowding is a real issue in this province, stories like Donna’s show us that —and I hear them almost every day. How can the premier continue to pretend that everything is fine in our hospitals when she is confronted with a case like Donna’s?”

Thompson is still in the emergency ward at Welland hospital waiting to be moved to one of two possible floors for further treatment. Her daughter Leslie says that no one should have to go through what her mom went through, and Forster agreed, saying the crisis has been decades in the making, but can be fixed.

“The last Conservative government fired 6000 nurses and closed 28 hospitals. The Liberals have shortchanged hospitals in every budget for 15 years, including $300 million in this budget alone,” said Forster. “Kathleen Wynne is carrying on the Conservative tradition of cutting health care services for Ontario families, and it has to stop.  We have to stop choosing between bad and worse when it comes to health care.”

Caroline Bourque Wiley, Communications Director for the Niagara Health System, said late Thursday that the NHS was sorry to hear about Thompson’s story and was following up with her and her family.

“We are currently experiencing a high volume of patients at our hospital sites, and our teams are working very hard to provide our patients and families with a positive experience,” said Bourque-Wiley. “Our goal is for every patient to receive safe, timely care at all times. Whenever we fall short, we are one hundred percent committed to learning from the experience.”