Man hurt in Mexico dies after five day wait for Ontario hospital bed

Stuart Cline,71 a London, Ont., man died in hospital after spending five days in Mexico waiting for a bed closer to home. His son says the delay highlights a disturbing shortage of intensive care beds.

Stuart Cline.

Stuart Cline was vacationing in Puerto Vallarta last month when he suffered a burst blood vessel. He was rushed into surgery in a Mexican hospital.

After he was stabilized, he languished for five days before he was flown to St. Catharines, Ont., on March 1. He died in St. Catharines, which is about 200 kilometres from his home.

His son, David Cline,says that he believes his father should have received a bed in Ontario, “if not the first day, definitely the second day.”

Cline says his wife, who is from Mexico and speaks Spanish, flew to Mexico immediately after the injury and was there working with doctors and the insurance company to try to arrange for a bed in Ontario’s public health system, but they “just kept getting told, ‘No, maybe tomorrow.’”

He said, “I can assure you the insurance companies were calling lots of hospitals every single day.They were very diligent. Every day, we had new hopes that he was going to be going.”

Cline says he isn’t sure if the outcome would have been different had his father been brought back to Canada sooner, but he says that his father had been “moving” in Mexico but “there was nothing” after he got home.

According to Cline, his father’s MPP New Democrat Peggy Sattler “spoke some truth” when she said in a widely-shared that the province’s hospital bed system shouldn’t be at 100 per cent capacity.

The afternoon of Saturday March 3, I received an email from the family of Stuart Cline, letting me know that Stuart had…

Posted by Peggy Sattler on Saturday, March 3, 2018

Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Interim Leader Vic Fedeli echoed Sattler’s sentiments in daily question period at Queen’s Park on Monday.

“This tragedy is a direct result of this government’s refusal to properly fund hospitals across this province,” Fedeli said in a question to Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne.

Wynne then read off the numbers of intensive care beds she says were available in various parts of southern Ontario on Feb. 26, including 85 spread out across Hamilton, Niagara, Toronto and other areas.