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A photo of the Alberta Children's Hospital sign
Sandra Prusina | City News

Alberta Children’s Hospital Overwhelmed as It Reaches Capacity

Some parents and their kids are waiting more than 12 hours

It is an incredibly scary time to be a parent in Alberta right now. Parents have to fight tooth and nail to protect their children from a surge in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), flu, and COVID-19 cases across Canada.

This is now being referred to as the ‘tripledemic.’ How wonderful for us, we have entered the age of the multi-plague.

In the week ending December 3, 2022, 11,043 cases of COVID-19, 9,842 cases of influenza, and 2,392 cases of RSV were detected in Canada.

In Alberta alone, there were 891 lab-confirmed cases of the flu as of November 5, 2022. Of this sick people, 146 ended up in the hospital.

To make matters worse, Alberta’s health care workers are stretched thin trying to deal with a growing number of sick children.

Even the Alberta Children’s Hospital is overwhelmed by the province’s growing number of sick children. In some cases, parents are waiting more than 12 hours for their kids to get seen.

This is the largest public hospital for sick children in the prairie provinces. If health care workers at such a large hospital are at their limit, how are Alberta’s smaller hospitals faring?

Not well.

Parents are now running out of places to turn when their children get sick. When her 23-month-old daughter fell sick, Amanda Weger tried her luck at the Airdrie hospital.

When she arrived, the parking lot was packed to the brim. With the clock ticking, Weger made the trip to the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

The situation wasn’t much better. Weger’s heart sank when she saw the line. It would take her three and a half hours just to have Avery assessed.

“All of these kids are in there because they have some kind of respiratory virus, and most of them – like Avery – had two or more,” Weger told CTV News.

Thankfully, a nurse saw how critical Avery’s condition was and rushed her to ICU.

With the holidays fast approaching, Alberta has issued a warning to parents about respiratory illnesses. But it isn’t just Alberta being put through the wringer.

The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), one of the provinces largest children’s hospitals, recently asked for help from the Red Cross.

The CHEO is severely understaffed to the point that staff have had to cancel surgeries to fill the gaps. To combat this, the Red Cross has sent a small team to provide some relief.

There are only a handful of Canadian children’s hospitals in the country. Meanwhile, there are thousands of kids dealing with the triple threat of COVID-19, RSV, and the flu.

Canada’s health care system is being pushed to the brink, but the Red Cross can’t help everyone.

What happens to our children when there’s no where left to turn?

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