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St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton to fully re-open emergency department effective immediately to alleviate increasing pressure at Hamilton Health Sciences

For Immediate Release
Monday January 13, 2013

2000hrs - St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH) has re-opened its emergency department to all ambulance traffic effective immediately.

It is expected that this will help alleviate the significant pressure that has been building at Hamilton Health Science’s (HHS) Hamilton General and Juravinski Hospital emergency departments ever since St. Joseph’s emergency department closed last Wednesday, January 8. That closure was necessary after a flood at St. Joseph’s Charlton Campus affected its emergency department, operating rooms and other areas of the building.

HHS has been on Code Orange Standby since January 8, and over the past six days, the General and Juravinski have been receiving the majority of ambulances in the city. Patient volumes in HHS’ Hamilton General and Juravinski hospitals have increased by approximately 16-35 per cent, while the number of ambulances has increased by about 45-83 per cent.

St. Joseph’s has been gradually increasing its capacity to accept more ambulances at its Charlton Campus. HHS and SJHH have been working closely to manage patient flow and develop streamlined strategies to transfer and admit patients from HHS to SJHH in a timely and effective manner. After reviewing the most recent volume and acuity levels, it became clear that re-opening SJHH’s emergency department was critical.

“We are a very busy, acute care hospital that typically sees between 180 and 200 patients a day, up to 45 of whom arrive by ambulance,” says Dr. David Higgins, President of St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. “Our colleagues at HHS have been extraordinary in caring for these very ill patients, and we are immensely grateful for their support. If it weren’t for the extra efforts they have made over the past six days, access to critical, emergency care for patients in Hamilton could have been compromised.”

“We are very pleased that St. Joseph’s is able to once again receive ambulances,” says Brenda Flaherty, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of Hamilton Health Sciences. “The emergency departments at Hamilton General Hospital and the Juravinski Hospital have been extraordinarily busy and our staff and physicians have been working exceptionally hard. We know that St. Joseph’s is also working very hard to restore its emergency services and, on behalf of our patients and staff, we are grateful for their efforts.”

Hamilton Emergency Medical Services (EMS) have been notified of the directive, and will begin bringing appropriate patients to SJHH’s emergency department immediately.

One of the reasons SJHH is able to re-open its emergency department to ambulances is that it has also opened four operating rooms, thus enabling the hospital to provide emergency and urgent surgery. St. Joseph’s hopes to re-open six more in the flood-damaged section of the hospital within two or three days. This will help address the city-wide pressure on surgical services. From Wednesday to Saturday last week, all emergent and urgent surgeries for adult patients across Hamilton were performed at Hamilton General and the Juravinski Hospital. That meant both SJHH and HHS were forced to cancel scheduled and elective surgeries. With more operating rooms coming back into service at St. Joseph’s, both organizations can start addressing the backlog of elective/scheduled cases.

Impact of Flooding at St. Joseph’s on surgeries and emergency departments

From Wednesday, Jan.8 through Monday, Jan. 13:
•Hamilton Health Sciences cancelled 97 elective/scheduled surgeries
•St. Joseph’s Charlton Campus cancelled elective/scheduled 162 surgeries

From Wednesday Jan. 8 through Sunday, Jan. 12:
•Total volume at Hamilton General and Juravinski Hospitals of Hamilton Health Sciences was 1,388. Normal volumes based on daily average would be about 1,100, about a 25 per cent increase, due to the increase in ambulances going to these HHS sites.
•St. Joseph’s Charlton Campus saw 372 patients in that time. Normal volume would be about 900-1,000.

Hamilton Health Sciences accepted all ambulances from Jan. 8 through Jan. 11, most on Jan. 12 and Jan. 13 until late afternoon. Ambulances often carry patients with the most serious illnesses and injuries, requiring greater hospital resources.
•HHS’ Hamilton General Hospital normally receives about 35 ambulances per day. For Jan. 8 through Jan. 12, it received 49 to 63 ambulances in a day.
•HHS’ Juravinski Hospital normally receives about 30 ambulances per day. For Jan. 8 through Jan. 12 it received 46 to 56 ambulances in a day.

Frequent updates via website updates will be time-stamped with information and can be accessed by visiting or
Media Contact:

Victoria Raab | Director | Public Affairs
St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton
CELL: 905.975.2944 |

Vel Snoukphonh | Specialist | Public Relations & Communications
Hamilton Health Sciences
CELL: 905.870.0111 |

We will continue to update on our community via our external websites, Twitter and Facebbok channels:
@STJOESHAMILTON Facebook – St. Joseph’s Healthcare and Foundation
@HamHealthSc Facebook – Hamilton Health Sciences

Emergency Departments within the city of Hamilton: Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton – Charlton Campus
50 Charlton Ave, Hamilton, L8N 1C3

Hamilton General Hospital – Hamilton Health Sciences
237 Barton Street East, Hamilton, L8L 2X2

Juravinski Hospital – Hamilton Health Sciences
711 Concession Street, Hamilton, L8V 1C3

McMaster Children’s Hospital – Hamilton Health Sciences
1200 Main St. West, Hamilton, L8N 3Z5

Urgent Care Centres within the city of Hamilton:

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton Urgent Care Centre,
King Campus
2757 King St E. Hamilton, ON L8G 5E4
8 a.m. to 10 p.m., 7 days a week

Main Street West Urgent Care Centre
Hamilton Health Sciences
690 Main Street West, Hamilton, L8S 1A4
Open 9 a.m. – 9 p.m., 7 days a week
Hamilton Health Sciences • Hamilton, Ontario • 905.521.2100

Disclaimer: Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) offers Google Translate to better facilitate access for our community. However, HHS makes no claims regarding the accuracy of translations. Any and all health information should be verified by a health care professional.