Montreal emergency rooms overloaded

Montreal emergency rooms are overloaded with injuries from icy sidewalks.

The Jewish General Hospital, Lachine Hospital, Verdun Hospital and Hôpital Jean-Talon are reporting overcrowding in their emergency rooms. Other hospitals, such as St-Mary’s and Lakeshore, are nearly at capacity.

Public health officials say that the increase is due, in part, to injuries related to slips and falls on snowy and icy sidewalks,

“What we’ve specifically noticed this week is an increase in fractures,” said Jade Saint-Jean, spokesperson for the Montérégie-Ouest CIUSSS. “So it’s probably related directly to the weather we’ve been experiencing.”

Environment Canada has issued a freezing rain warning for Montreal, Laval, Longueuil and Châteauguay, where roads are expected to be messy.

The overcrowding is also due to patients showing up with the flu and gastroenteritis. As a result, health authorities are asking the population to avoid already packed emergency rooms for minor health issues.

Anyone who isn’t suffering from an acute illness can visit a walk-in clinic or call the city’s health information line at 8-1-1 and speak with a healthcare professional.

Mayor Valérie Plante encouraged Montrealers to inform the city about dangerous sidewalks and uncleared roads.

Work crews are out in full force removing snow and ice, but may have missed some spots, Plante said Saturday.