In this article, you will get all information regarding Lachine Hospital: community, health workers protest reduction of services

Residents of Lachine and health-care workers staged a march Saturday afternoon in the hopes of seeing Lachine Hospital remain fully functioning.

Last month the McGill University Health Centre announced the Lachine Hospital would see a reduction of services. Changes included having ambulances redirected to other health centres and reducing operations to 14 hours per day.

The MUHC says it’s about better reorganizing services within the health network.

The decision was met with resistance from staff at the hospital and health advocates, who hope services at Lachine can remain as they once were.

Saturday’s Save the Lachine Hospital march was organized by health care advocate Dr. Paul Saba, who also works as a family physician at the hospital, and other concerned Lachine residents.

“This is for the safety and for the lives of the population,” said Dr. Saba. “We know that in studies that whenever you close an emergency room to the local community, you have an increase in death rates, particularly for time-sensitive illnesses like heart attacks.

“If this persists, people will die. We must stop this. We have to reopen.”

Dr. Paul Saba at the Save the Lachine Hospital march on March 18, 2023. (Credit: CityNews/Kwunkeyi Isichei)

The MUHC says patients needing emergency care outside opening hours – from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. – are being asked to visit the Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal Children’s Hospital, Montreal General Hospital, Verdun Hospital or LaSalle Hospital instead.

Saba says the time delay of bringing patients from Lachine to other hospitals will lead to lives being lost. He and residents of Lachine formed the “Save the Lachine Hospital Committee” in response.


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“It’s unacceptable that they’re redirecting these services elsewhere to supply the downtown hospitals,” said Danielle Carter, a Lachine resident for the past 40 years. “We’re geographically isolated here, as opposed to the other hospitals that fall under the MUHC umbrella.

“We should have all the services we need to care for our communities, not just us.”

Lachine community, health workers march to “save” the Lachine Hospital on March 18, 2023. (Credit: CityNews/Kwunkeyi Isichei)

The other closest hospital for Lachine residents is the LaSalle Hospital, which is a 13-minute drive from Lachine Hospital. Lakeshore Hospital is the next closest – a 16-minute drive away.

“The Lakeshore, the only other hospital on the West Island is running at 175 per cent capacity. So it would just overflow the other hospitals,” said Maja Vodanovic, the Lachine mayor. “And the Glen is also at 154 per cent. So we do not understand this and we hope that the minister will take the right decision and keep our hospital open and running with its emergency rooms.

“All the mayors unanimously of the West Island are in support of keeping our hospital open, keeping the hospital open with a fully running emergency room with intensive care units.”

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Saba calls the decision poor judgment on MUHC’s part.

“We have a fully staffed ER with physicians as well as nurses,” he said. “We even have now that we’ve spoken recently to the intensive care inhalation therapist, we can reopen even our intensive care. So this is a bad health-care policy decision. And we’re asking the government and the McGill University Health Centre to reopen.”

MUHC focused on Lachine’s modernization project 

In an emailed statement to CityNews, the MUHC says there are “two scenarios” for the future of Lachine Hospital.

“In the first scenario, the focus would be more on the development of a hospital with clinics for the follow-up of chronic diseases and more clinically stable inpatients,” said Gilda Salomone, the MUHC communications manager. “In both scenarios, 60 inpatient beds would be used.

“The second scenario would be the maintenance of the hospital’s community vocation. Patients would therefore be hospitalized in both scenarios, but would have different profiles, with different clinical needs, depending on the services that could be offered.”

The MUHC also specifies it is prioritizing the hospital’s “modernization project.”

“We intend to make good use of the new facilities, as we move toward a sustainable choice that meets the needs of the Lachine community,” the statement continued.

READ MORE: Lachine Hospital $223 million expansion project promises modern facilities

Saba says the only appropriate decision is keeping the hospital fully functional, as it once was.

“The plea is to the government and to the McGill University Health Centre,” he said. “Keep it open, keep it fully functioning. We don’t want an ambulatory care centre. We don’t want a mini emergency room. We want a full functioning emergency room open 24/7 with ambulances.”

A petition was launched on the National Assembly website, garnering over 500 signatures. It is asking the Quebec government to intervene and help the hospital get these services back so it can operate at full capacity again.

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Lachine Hospital: community, health workers protest reduction of services

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